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Buy a Segway... Please 836

Posted by michael
from the it-will-change-the-world-ha-ha dept.
aedunn writes "Wired has an article about everyone's favorite Human Transporter - Segway. Seems as though the company is looking at some hard times. Among other things, the article cites Segway's price, low speed and tightened spending in the corporate world as reasons for Segway's slow sales."
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Buy a Segway... Please

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  • Read about 'em (Score:3, Informative)

    by giminy (94188) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @11:06AM (#5334745) Homepage Journal
    Tis a shame that the economy has hit a downturn, but there's an interesting site that a happy owner has up, about how he's losing weight and saving money with his: The book of Seg [bookofseg.com].
  • Re:Stirling engine? (Score:5, Informative)

    by zero_offset (200586) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @11:14AM (#5334824) Homepage
  • Re:Read about 'em (Score:3, Informative)

    by tbmaddux (145207) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @11:18AM (#5334861) Homepage Journal
    ...interesting site that a happy owner has up, about how he's losing weight and saving money with his...
    He's only got a 7-mile 1-way commute, and while he asserts he "cannot use a bike" for his commute, he provides no reason why. He'd lose more weight and save even more money if he biked.
  • Re:Stirling engine? (Score:5, Informative)

    by robolemon (575275) <nertzy@gMENCKENmail.com minus author> on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @11:22AM (#5334902) Homepage
    A Stirling engine is an motor driven by two plates that are held (somehow) at a temperature difference. I have seen several, including one that was driven by the heat coming off my hand.

    The benefit to a Stirling engine is that any type of heating process can lead to motion.

    I actually learned this while visiting DEKA (Dean Kamen's research and development company that created the Segway). They were developed by a man named Stirling sometime in the 1800s, I believe.

  • I like the segway (Score:5, Informative)

    by Lord_Pall (136066) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @11:25AM (#5334937)
    Okay.. I know the segway is pretty useless for day to day life, but I was fortunate enough to actually use one in a few situations during my vacation in december...

    Seadream Yacht Club (a cruise line), has 4 segways per ship for passenger use (the ships are very small, so that's actually an okay number).

    We went on our cruise the week after they got them, so they were still experimenting with their itinerary. We learned how to use them in nassau, on the pier right off of the ship.

    They work exactly as every test driver has stated.. Once you get comfortable on them, you just think about moving forward and you go forward. It's all based off of the weight distribution on your feet. There's a tendency to lean forward to try and make it go faster, but this goes away eventually.

    Turning is a little weirder as it's geared off of your hand motion (sort of like a motorcycle throttle). If you are going full speed forward (depending on the key your using to control the max speed), and turn, you're going to fall off. That was something we had to learn to deal with..

    Anyhow.. after we learned how to drive them, we got to use them in a heavy pedestrian traffic area.. Key West. We used them for a quick tour of the island, driving on the streets and sidewalks, weaving into and out of traffic, bicyclists and pedestrians flawlessly. They stop on a dime, turn on a dime, and will throw you to the ground on a dime if you're not careful.

    For day to day use (for most people), they're completely useless. For people who need to interact with pedestrian traffic, they're great.

    The place i'd like to see them used more is in the vacation industry. Seadream is planning on using them for tours of portofino, and other places in europe. This is where it would truly shine.

    The last thing that I find a little weird is that Seadream had a decent amount of trouble actually getting segway to talk to them and sell them units. For a company thats having problems moving product, they should probably change their policy in dealin with outside vendors.

    Sure they only wanted 8 or 10 of them, but given the clientele and quantity of people who will get to use/see them, it's free advertising.

    If they could get them to be a little lighter (under the 86 pounds they're at now), and a little more collapsible (so you could carry it with you on vacation), and made them a little cheaper (1500 bux or so)..

    I think they've got a chance.. Otherwise it's just a novelty
  • Re:Read about 'em (Score:3, Informative)

    by Spunk (83964) <sq75b5402@sneakemail.com> on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @11:25AM (#5334943) Homepage
    We've seen that site before [slashdot.org], and frankly it reeks of astroturfing [slashdot.org].
  • Re:Read about 'em (Score:3, Informative)

    by xanadu-xtroot.com (450073) <xanadu.inorbit@com> on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @11:27AM (#5334959) Homepage Journal
    Thank you for that link. I really hate to do this to the guy, but:

    This is some video [bookofseg.com] of the thing actually working. He did an interview for his local news station. It's an 18.5 Meg .WMV, though... (and no, I can't get mplayer to play it :-( )

    I'll probably get death threats from him for posting that direct link, but it's REALLY damn cool actually seeing the thing work and move and all that. Y'all really need to see that. I think I'm gonna bag that idea of a trip to the Keys and save up for one of these instead...
  • Re:this just in (Score:4, Informative)

    by me3head (621221) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @11:55AM (#5335178)
    Well,

    My mom has Multiple Sclerosis, and while she has some trouble standing up from a sitting position, she can stand just fine. Walking for any amount of time is, however, quite difficult. She uses a scooter type thing right now, so she has no use for one of these, but if she didnt have the scooter, I can see this being useful, especially if she lived in the city. She had to get her van retrofitted at a cost of $10,000 (gov't helped) to accomodate the scooter, and the scooter itself cost something like $5000. Since she needs to get around in the middle of nowhere, this is nescissary for her, but if she were in a densly populated area, it might be just the ticket.

    Mike
  • by dfenstrate (202098) <dfenstrate@gm a i l .com> on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @12:04PM (#5335256)
    Ug. never buy a $50 bike. It'll fall apart incredibly fast. Go to a reputable bike shop and spend $300-$400 on a real bike.

    They'll last much longer. I rode a walmart bike to pieces in one day- returned it and got my money back. I went to a bike shop and dropped 3x as much on a Schwinn (before they sold out to Pacific Bicycle- the new schwinns are crap.), and I've beaten the hell out of it for 100's of miles with only one major problem, that the bike shop fixed for free.

    BUY A REAL BIKE.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @12:10PM (#5335304)
    Not for personal travel but for internal movement of heavier products. Loading/unloading large loads etc...
    Imagine a walmart with 3 people running the whole show. An online ordering system and a delivery service. If you want to make it fun, use capacitors, a small battery and a mircowave charging system--theft prevention, can also include a charging system dependency. Automates the entire warehouse at low cost and minimal floorspace.

    A boon and/or replaceable (robotic/tools) arms. More versatile factories, makes cars on day, vcr's the next.

    Wheelchairs that climb stairs without endangering the occupant or bystanders. Soft tires that can run over a childs foot without harm, and collision inhibit system (short range motion detectors and or thermal for safety).

    Can it run linux yet? Can I hit a button on my remote, or beer shortcut key and have one in 20 seconds or so. Can it go shopping at the local grocery store for elderly (excluding produce and meats I'm picky).

    Who owns the patent to the giro?
  • Re:Read about 'em (Score:3, Informative)

    by Bishop (4500) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @12:27PM (#5335452)
    Looking at him I would say that he would have gained weight if he had bought a bike. There is nothing like a little exercise in the morning to build up the muscle mass in a hurry.

    For the price of a segway he could have bought a really nice recumbent bike [recumbents.com] or trike [greenspeed.com.au]. Or save a bundle and buy used [recumbents.com].

    Before anyone jumps down my throat: If you can stand for 7 miles on a segway you can ride a bike for the same distance. 7 miles may seem like a long distance, and it will be for the first 2-4 weeks. But it won't be long before you have the muscle mass to do twice that without breaking a sweat.

    I just re-read the specs on the Segway and they suck. Now that I am in some what decent shape my top speed is twice that of the Segway. My regular "cruising" speed is 50% faster. And I probably can beat the Segway's best case max range of 15mi/25km on an empty stomach.

    If you are a person with a disability limiting your mobility I can see a need for a Segway. But for the rest of us a bike commute is not a problem.
  • Re:Fills a need... (Score:3, Informative)

    by raretek (215909) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @03:39PM (#5337400)
    "Driving: If you think driving a car is relatively cheap, you make too much money off that pr0n site, 9-9. The incremental cost of driving a few miles may be low, but the overall cost is very high."

    No doubt. People just calculate the cost of gas and then assume that's the cost of cars. They don't take into account the routine maintenance cost, which if not done, leads to statisticaly much higher repair costs, which if not done, leads to drastic levels of noxious chemicals into our environment, which takes its toll on our quality of life, and in severe cases of car neglect, can actually poison the people driving them.

    Personally, I got a Schwinn moutain bike with a currie electric motor. It goes about 12 miles on a single charge(in hill country), and I can get about 18 mph without having to peddle on a flat, and about 12mph up a typical hill. When the NiMH batteries become available for it, it will go even faster and further.

    It's not as scifi as the seguey, but it delivers on it's promise. The price? 500 bucks with bike. pennies a day to get me to work and back with very little physical exertion on my part.

    Why would I want to pay 10 times that for a seguay that basically gives me the same performance? Does not compute.

  • by gurps_npc (621217) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @04:45PM (#5338094) Homepage
    The thing was over priced, with a TON of hype for what turned out to simply be an electric scooter with a fancy control mechanism. Big deal. Get yourself an electric Razor scooter and forget the over-hyped, over priced thing.
  • Re:Fills a need... (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @07:45PM (#5339709)
    the nearest one is 10 blocks away across a MAJOR roadway so I dont walk
    So you're saying you won't walk a few blocks to the corner store, right?

    You're an idiot. He said the store was 10 blocks away. That's NOT "the corner store".

For every bloke who makes his mark, there's half a dozen waiting to rub it out. -- Andy Capp

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