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Segway Hits the Auction Block 384

fmita writes: " is auctioning off 3 Segways to the public. The proceeds are to go to a foundation started by the inventor. These are the first Segways to go to the public. Since there are only three, they sure aren't cheap." Women drool over a man on a Segway.
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Segway Hits the Auction Block

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  • Sudden stop? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by richie2000 ( 159732 ) <> on Tuesday February 19, 2002 @10:45AM (#3031712) Homepage Journal
    I still haven't figured out what happens if you should run into something that blocks the wheels, like a curb or any random piece of debris that may be lying on the road/sidewalk. Would the Segway suddenly throw you off like a high-tech mechanical bull? Should you wear a helmet on this thing?
    • by segfaultdot ( 462810 ) on Tuesday February 19, 2002 @10:56AM (#3031787)
      Better question yet: If your segway suddenly stops and throws you off, would that be called a seg fault? [rimshot]
    • I rode one (Score:5, Informative)

      by cprincipe ( 100684 ) on Tuesday February 19, 2002 @10:57AM (#3031793) Homepage

      The balancing system is generally very forgiving. If you run into a curb or some similar obstacle, it will generally stop forward movement altogether, giving you the choice to climb it or go around it.

      I can't speak however for what would happen if you were barreling ahead at full speed and not watching where you are going. The Segway is not a mountain bike, so if you try to abuse it you will get the same results as when you abuse any other piece of machinery. Just as you would pay attention when using a bicycle or a car to the state of the path in front of you, you need to pay attention to what's going on in front of you on a Segway.

      • Well sure, but there's a slight difference; when you hit a curb at speed in your car, you jack up the car and get jostled around. When you hit a curb on a mountain bike you jack up the bike and get jostled around. If you hit a curb on a segway you jack up the segway and dine on pavement and teeth.

        And yeah, if you're going fast enough on a bike you can eat gravel, too. But if you have even a little warning you can jump the curb, saving the front wheel and a faceplant. The back wheel may not fare so well, but you won't be eating mushy foods while you wait for dental surgery...
    • I was also wondering about the "senses your every intention" technology. What happens if you're patiently waiting at a crosswalk, and someone bumps you hard from behind? Does the thing assume you want to run out in front of a bus at full speed?
      • Re:Sudden stop? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by SuperRob ( 31516 )
        No. Because YOUR natural reaction is going to be to right yourself, and thus, the Segway will do the same.

        People really like to try to outthink this thing, not realizing that regardless of anything you can think of that might "surprise" the Segway into doing something unintended, the fact that YOU are on it and will instinctively try to NOT hit the Bus, is what makes Segway WORK.
    • Well, they list the top speed as 17MPH. So if you plan on riding into walls at top speed, I would recommend a helmet. But seriously, I doubt that the HT would just fall over if it ran into something that forced it to stop. You would probably just get the wind knocked out of you as the handle bars plant themselves into your solar plexus.

      On the other hand, given the diameter of the wheels, you might be amazed at the curbs it could hop. I can't find any specs for the exact diameter, but the web pages do state that it raises the rider 8" off of the ground. The pictures make it appear that the top of the riding platform is maybe half way up the wheel, if even that. I would guess that they might be up to 20" diameter wheels. Large wheels in combination with a lot of torque forcing the HT to stay upright might enable it to jump some pretty amazing curbs. Not that I want to be the person to test the theory. :-)
    • I still haven't figured out what happens if you should run into something that blocks the wheels, like a curb or any random piece of debris that may be lying on the road/sidewalk.

      I'm not adopting this technology until we get something like the smart skateboards from Snow Crash :)
      • I would like the hoverboard on Back to the Future (2). When I was a kid I wanted that thing so bad...

        We could make a "hoverboard" rink in reality too... Just get a highly electromagnetized floor and a hoverboard would glide across it. You could sell the boards or rent them.
        of course, I would think if the board tipped over it would become almost impossible to remove from the floor due to the magenet attraction when the poles are switched. Ok. bad idea. Nothing to see here...

    • I still haven't figured out what happens if you should run into something that blocks the wheels
      Or when you want to accelerate (you bow forward) over the maximum velocity. There'll be a point where whis thing won't be able to accelerate any more to prevent you from falling, and too bad it will be at max speed...
    • If you run into something that totally blocks the wheels- yes you go flying. BUT-

      Something big enough to block the wheels would have to be almost 1/2 the diameter of the wheels; I bet they chose the wheel diameter to be bigger than any curbs you're likely to meet. And if you make it over the curb at all, the balancing mechanism will almost certainly recover the balance.
  • by TechnoVooDooDaddy ( 470187 ) on Tuesday February 19, 2002 @10:46AM (#3031726) Homepage
    Women drool over a man on a Segway?
    Women drool over a man on a Segway????

    is that because they're laughing so hard they can't help themselves?
  • Easy to ride? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by dodald ( 195775 )
    By participating in the FIRST Edition Segway(TM) Human Transporter Auction, you agree that, if you win one of 3 auctions, you shall attend a training session conducted by Segway prior to delivery of your Segway(TM) HT
    I thought these things were supposed to be easy, and intuitive to ride. I wonder how long the training is.
    • Re:Easy to ride? (Score:5, Informative)

      by dhovis ( 303725 ) on Tuesday February 19, 2002 @10:56AM (#3031784)
      I thought these things were supposed to be easy, and intuitive to ride. I wonder how long the training is.

      I'm sure the training involves more than just how to hop on and go. There is probably some maintenance that must be done.

      One of the things I remember reading about the Segway company is that they were developing a set of "rules of the road" for their scooters. People will start cursing the scooters if the people who use them just drive like assholes all the time and don't follow any expected rules. They probably will be tring to stress those rules on the early purchasers so the scooter itself does not get a bad reputation.

      • When the machine was first debuted on Good Morning America, the two hosts were offered to ride them. It appeared they didn't have any practice before going on camera and mount this thing, and from what I saw, two non-athletic, non-techie white bread Americans hopped on and were doing pretty much everything the device could do. Kamen said, and the two hosts confirmed, that the thing just does what you want it to do. "You think left, it goes left." Unless this was more rigged than it seemed to be, Joe Couch Potato will have no problem gaining more weight due to his daily excersize of walking from house to car and car to job.
    • Rule 1 in Segway training class: No-one talks about segway training class!

      Rule 2: you will give 50% of you money to Segway.

      Rule 3: Your first born is property of Segway.

      Rule 4: No-one talks about segway training class!
  • Liability? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SpookComix ( 113948 ) <spookcomix AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday February 19, 2002 @10:48AM (#3031735) Homepage Journal
    Since these babies aren't really released to the public yet, is the manufacturer going to assume the liability for them if they falter, crap out, or kill someone?

    Imagine some rich, lucky bastard steaming down the sidewalk in a crowded city, taking out old ladies with his 75 lb. beast and his 300 lb. fat ass. From what I remember, these initial models were more suited for mail carrying, military testing, etc.

    Also, if the toy breaks, will the manufacturer repair it? Three "someones" are gonna spend a lot of scratch on these bad boys...I hope they don't fall apart right out of the chute.


    • When you buy a car and run over people is the company that made the car liable? And I'm sure it comes with some kind of warranty
    • How is this product any different than any other product released? Sure, they're the first ones sold, but... they're still just a product being sold by a company. You get whatever warranty is granted to you by the company (or otherwise mandated by law), and the same with liability. The company will be liable according to the laws and regulations in the place where they're sold.

  • you can be the first to find out that they explode after 100 km.

    honestly, i can't wait for these things to go public, just so that i can laugh at commercials of people traversing the Great Wall and exploring the Himalayas on them.

    hmmm. does this thing have a stereo.

    i need more sleep.
  • Yeah, women love men ride with a muscle bound 5 volt engine bravely facing speeds in excess of 10mph.
  • by asmithmd1 ( 239950 ) on Tuesday February 19, 2002 @10:52AM (#3031763) Homepage Journal
    Remind me again, why is it better to put the wheels on the sides instead of front and back like every other scooter? Sure it is possible using 3 gyroscopes, 5 computers, etc, etc. to balace but what advantage does this give you? If there is an advantage to the wheels on the sides why not add a third trailing caster to balance the thing and get rid of the gyros and computers. This is a technical solution looking for a problem
    • by mr.ska ( 208224 ) on Tuesday February 19, 2002 @10:58AM (#3031799) Homepage Journal
      Three words: Zero. Turning. Radius.

      Any other scooter would take up more room (longitudinally) as well. Essentially, it's a space-saving feature. Total footprint is reduced.

      • pick up, turn around, put down. zero turning radius on every small vehicle (bike, skateboard, etc..)

      • several words...

        a caster on a 2 wheeled platform to reduce tipping does not change turning radius by any means. hell put 2 casters on it one front one back.. the turning radius still hasn't changed and you just removed 98% of the cost of the device.

        the reason for not having casters and horribly over-engineering the device is to allow it to climb steep inclines without discomforting the rider. that is the only reason... creature comfort.
    • Nope, check out a definition of "differential steering" and then see why it's a Good Thing.

      Diff steering gives you a smaller turning radius (zero at zero speed), more manoeverability etc etc. Oddly enough, we were discussing this in our robotwars team [] this morning.

      If this *was* a technical solution looking for a problem, then all cars would be three wheelers.

    • by segfaultdot ( 462810 ) on Tuesday February 19, 2002 @11:16AM (#3031917)

      A three wheeled cheapo version of the Segway would not be nearly as stable. Why? Just look at how close the two wheels are together. Adding a castor would only be stable if you were standing perfectly upright. Otherwise you'd topple over or backwards. IANAE, but the segway is really the only stable way to make such a small mobile platform for someone to stand on. Partially, the segway is like the old seal-with-a-beach-ball routine. As your weight shifts forward, the motors move the segway forward to keep everything in balance. The gyros and sensors help a lot, but that is the basic principle. The other main stabilising feature is its low center of gravity. Take a closer look at it. You are actually standing just a few inches above the ground, and the wheels' axis is above your feet. It's a lot more stable than say, a bicycle, where your center of gravity is way up high. Just my observations.
    • Perhaps you've forgotten the whole point of the steering system. Thanks to the basic setup of the device and the gyros you don't need accelerate/brake buttons -- you just lean. That can't be accomplished on a device with wheels in front and back, because it would always remain level relative to the ground in that plane.
    • Because if the wheels are on the side it's going to try and topple forwards or backwards, and you have two readily available wheels to counter that. If they are front and back, then there is no mechanism in place to stop the tendency to fall to the side.
  • by mr.ska ( 208224 ) on Tuesday February 19, 2002 @10:54AM (#3031772) Homepage Journal
    Hey, CmdrTaco, how about setting up a pool like you did for Mir's touchdown time? We all know when these bids will end, but we don't know at what price. So pick which Segway you're betting on (1, 2, or 3) and pick its final bid price. The three closest win a T-shirt or something.

    How about it? My bets:

    1. $137,550 USD
    2. $112,950 USD
    3. $114,875 USD
    I'm sure there are some CEOs, well-to-do technophiles, and even speculators that would pay that kind of cash for them. Me? I'll wait a couple of years. And then I'll buy a good bike instead. : )
    • They should've staggered the opening/closing times of the auctions. As each individual auction closed up to the last, they might see a bidding frenzy on the remaining two as the item became more "scarce." I've seen people do this with rare comics on eBay. It works like a charm.
    • if you think someone will pay $137,000 for this thing. That's the price of a Porsche! For a scooter? Even a really, really, REALLY NICE scooter? I don't think so.
  • Walking (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kill-hup ( 120930 )
    Sure, they seem cool and you can't discount the geek appeal, but how much effort is really involved in walking to your destination? Is the company looking to outfit these suckers in 5 years with heavy-duty shocks because all the customers have become extremely out of shape?

    I apologize for the flamebait here - I love the idea of people whizzing around on the sidewalk at 13mph, but how hard is it to walk down to the bus station/ATM/bar?

    • I concur about the walking... but try having to change tapes between 9 different buildings on a campus that's 4+ miles in circumference campus at 2 o'clock in the morning when it's 5 degrees farenheit and the company refuses to buy jukeboxes.

      Handy I would think. Better than spending 10 grand on the little electric golf carts. IMHO.
      I see more purpose in businesses for these rather than personal use.
  • SegOC (Score:5, Funny)

    by ksw2 ( 520093 ) <obeyeater@gma i l . com> on Tuesday February 19, 2002 @10:57AM (#3031792) Homepage
    Coming soon, Segway Overclocker geek sites...

    d00d, check out the blowhole in my s3g, i'm getting THIRTEEN mph...
  • industrial uses (Score:4, Informative)

    by kin_korn_karn ( 466864 ) on Tuesday February 19, 2002 @11:00AM (#3031810) Homepage
    My dad came up with a good point. He works in a steel mill and when they have to travel a long distance, they use 3-wheeled bicycles. Segways would be great for them, because the bikes are slow and cumbersome.
    • When I was working helldesk and had to travel between job sites, I had to use the company beater, when a Lamborghini Diablo would have gotten me there way faster.
      In a world with unlimited money, we could have unlimited toys. In the real world, we sometimes have to use cheap, simple equipment because we're in harsh industrial climates and you need to either be able to cheaply repair or replace shit. Is an $8000 Segway really that much better than an $80 3-wheeled bike?
      • Is an $8000 Segway really that much better than an $80 3-wheeled bike?

        Well, first, I don't they're going to be $8000 in quantity.

        But beyond that, yes, it would be worth $8000 if you can save someone time. The thing goes 17 mph, and doesn't use up any of the workman's energy. If the guy is peddling all over hell, he's not going to get as much work done.

        I think the great example is postmen. I could see this cutting in half the number of postmen you need to cover an area.

    • by Pope Slackman ( 13727 ) on Tuesday February 19, 2002 @02:30PM (#3033023) Homepage Journal
      works in a steel mill and when they have to travel a long distance, they use 3-wheeled bicycles.

      Did anyone else just get image of a big, burly mill worker frantically pedalling a
      G.I. Joe BigWheel around the factory floor?

      C-X C-S
  • It is brilliant (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Carmody ( 128723 ) <slashdot AT dougshaw DOT com> on Tuesday February 19, 2002 @11:01AM (#3031813) Homepage Journal
    This auction thing is brilliant because

    (1) The publicity is amazing. I was watching morning TV today and it was like a huge infomercial for the Segway

    (2) He is getting people to pay a fortune for the privilege of beta-testing the device.

    (3) By only selling three, he is taking a leaf from business mastermind Eric Cartman's book. "Only three people get to ride today." The people who bid $100,000 and LOST will gladly pay any price once a few more become available.

    My only worry is this: As a teacher, I am going to have to deal with a generation of students who cannot spell "segue".

    • My only worry is this: As a teacher, I am going to have to deal with a generation of students who cannot spell "segue".

      Or worse: twenty segways clogging up the back of the classroom. Just look at what mobiles have done to school. At least segways don't ring.

  • by Rogerborg ( 306625 ) on Tuesday February 19, 2002 @11:01AM (#3031814) Homepage

    So, we're looking for people with more money than sense, who don't give a damn what they pay for transportation, or how effective it as, as long as it buys them something that nobody else has. Candidates?

    • The US military.
    • John Romero
    • Er...

    I give up. Who's number 3?

  • by c.r.o.c.o ( 123083 ) on Tuesday February 19, 2002 @11:04AM (#3031830)
    Well, I must say that I was quite impressed when they were first featured on TV. The Segway is a pretty cool device. And it may be usefull too, if it weren't for a few major problems.

    The first one that comes to mind is its size. Imagine riding this thing during the lunch hour in a crowded downtown area (pick the city of your choice). And you obviously have to ride it on the sidewalk. But it would not be faster (if not slower) than walking, since you wouldn't be moving faster than the rest of the people. It pretty much defeats its purpose in the suburbs or in the industrial parks. There's enough room there just to hop into your car and drive where you want to get.

    The second problem, as one of the previous posts mentioned, is what happens when you suddenly hit something (more likely someone). The thing might be self balancing, but I've felt what happens when one of your rollerblades gets stuck in a groove. Your body keeps moving with the same velocity, while one (if not both) feet are firmly planted in the obstacle. A split second later you find yourself lying face forward on the pavement. I see the same thing happening with the Segway.

    Third, think of its battery life (I presume it is battery powered)

    I think I'll stick to my bycicle for now, thank you.
    • Size: It was made to have a small footprint, it is only a little wider than your body, size shouldn't be a problem.

      Crashing: Not exactly sure but I remember hearing that it has some way of slowing down slowly even if it hits something suddenly

      Battery Life: It can go 17 miles on a single charge, the Segway website [] says that.
    • Will it go up stairs? If so, am I going to keep this massive hunk of metal in my cubicle? If not, am I going to trust a dinky bike chain to keep someone from stealing it?

      I guess if these things take off, I could make a fortune selling satellite tracking segway alarm systems! Put a blinking LED and a GPS tracking chip in it and sell it for a couple hundred... Anybody want to form an LLC?

    • I think factories will be the first to buy these, goto any big factory and you will see a lot of the same looking bikes. Now I'm sure that Mercedes or BMW will have the cash to buy these. Give them to people on the factory tour and watch your sales rise... Another issue is that a factory will have a person from Segway onsite that will services them.

      I have a feeling that fatories will purches a lot of these. My only question is how long does the battey last???
      • I think factories will be the first to buy these, goto any big factory and you will see a lot of the same looking bikes
        Actually, I just received this month's copy of Boring Warehouse Stuff magazine (that's not really the title but you get the point) and someone (presumably Segway's PR agency) is already pumping them in the warehouse trade rags for exactly that purpose. I have to think that was their primary market from the beginning...


    • Didn't they say that this device ("IT") would revolutionize the tranportation industry, and would change the design of cities in the future?

      I'm sorry, but this is one of the most stupid & overblown ideas I've ever seen (and that's NOT hyperbole). It's a magnificent idea...unless you have to carry something bigger than a pen. It's a tremendous idea...unless you live somewhere where there is WEATHER. Sure, I'm going to ride the segway my 46-mile one way trip to work, in Minnesota, in any month besides July or August. Yeah.

      For the 0.00002% of the world population that could afford this stupid thing, and the 0.0000001% of them who live indoors their entire lives this is the perfect device. I believe that leaves 13/1000ths of a single human for which this is the ultimate vehicle.

      More like revolutionize the hyperbole and change the design of your wallet in the future.
      • It's a magnificent idea...unless you have to carry something bigger than a pen.

        Um, didn't you read that it's been designed to cope with postmen with large mail bags and military with their packs?

        It's a tremendous idea...unless you live somewhere where there is WEATHER.

        Which applies to the bicycle, roller-blades, motorbike, ...

        Sure, I'm going to ride the segway my 46-mile one way trip to work, in Minnesota, in any month besides July or August

        For a start it will only travel 17 miles on one charge (for now). But you really are closed minded. Your journey is really a minority one. A large amount of commuters live in cities within close range of their work. The Segway makes a refreshing alternative to being packed in a subway or sitting in a traffic jam breathing in the toxic fumes of the car in front. Secondly it's a solution to "the last mile" that makes public transport so inconvenient. Hop on your segway to the train station, drive on to the 'segway carriage', relax in a seat, then zoom off at the station to work. Hopefully it will also even out house prices which tend to be disproportionately priced as to how far from a station you are (at least in the UK).

  • Where can you ride one of these without people constantly annoying you with questions?
  • ten thousand dollars.

    How much you bet someone like gates or ellison gets into the bidding war? I could see this going really high, if people with deep pockets get into it.

    we should only be so lucky, since both men are notoriously stubborn.

  • - A trip to outer space in a russian rocket
    - 2 tickets for the Taliban reality tour
    - 100 acres of soon to be beach front property in Arizona
    - Authentic area-51 paper thin like metal that can't be bent
    - The elephant man's bones
    - [insert porn star name here] underwear
    - the red pill

    • A trip to outer space in a russian rocket
      Going rate for a ride on a Russian space vehicle is $20 million (hard currency only please). I think that's a little above this price range!


    • by gad_zuki! ( 70830 ) on Tuesday February 19, 2002 @05:28PM (#3034301)


      I checked the voltmeter and it looks like it charged up nicely overnight. I haven't worn kneepads or a helmet in ages, they make me feel kind of awkward. After waving goodbye to my wife I'm off to work which is about six miles from here. I can't wait, this thing is so cool. I feel ten years younger.


      Holy shit, where did all these kids come from? I thought the district bussed them to school. I can't ride on the street because everyone keeps yelling for me to go faster and I can barely maneuver the sidewalk with all these kids. Someone just called me "Spaceman." I thought kids loved technology. Sorry to the girl I knocked over, but in all fairness I did yell, "heads up!"


      Okay I'm officially late for work now, but I did find a bike lane. What's with this town? I thought all the granola-loving bikers forced the city to put bike lanes on every street. There's maybe a mile's worth from my place to downtown. The bikers were pretty nice. One man said to the rest, "Let the dude on the rascal get through." I don't know what a rascal is, but they did let me get through.


      Holy fuck is downtown packed and no one is letting me through. The way I tip cabs around here you'd think they would let ride on the side of the lane. The doorman at my building yelled at the crowd to let the "handicapped guy" through. I was going to correct him, but they were already letting me past. I did get to ride up the handicap ramp and park in the building. Now I need an AC outlet. This trip nearly drained the battery.


      I'm not the fittest guy in the world but they need to make these things a little lighter. You drag a 70lbs Segway up the stairs and tell me how your back feels.


      I'm taking my Ginger, I mean my Segway, to lunch. I tried to get a co-worker to ride with me, but we fell and nearly broke our necks. I hope no one tells my wife that my hand got caught up in Jane's skirt as we were trying to get up. She didn't say anything and I think she really didn't noticed. A guy on one of those old time italian scooters yelled, "yuppie" at me and disappeared into traffic. Real mature.


      I had to ride all the way to that bike store in the Village to pick up an extra-long Kryptonite lock. Looks like the "no bikes" sign applies to the Segway as well in restaurants. I barely have enough time to stop and get a sandwich before getting back to work. I have to call my lunchmates and tell them I didn't get into an accident. If I keep yelling, "Beep, beep coming through" every block I can actually make some time. This thing really needs a horn.


      A cop called me over from the bike lane and told me unless I have a handicap permit I'm going to have to get motorcycle plates and a city sticker for this. He let me go this time, but he said if he sees me again mucking up traffic on my "razor scooter" I'm going to get arrested. I ran over a really big guy's toes pulling into the bike lane. He was really pissed. Four more people called me "Spaceman" on the way home. At least the doorman didn't call me handicapped again.


      I'm home and I came this close to hosing off the dog crap on the wheels before I saw the electric shock warning sticker. The first thing my wife told me as I pulled into the garage is that I look and smell like shit.


      I just called and the Shaper Image won't take returns. Great. I gotta get some good pictures of this thing for ebay. My 14-year old is gonna use it to get to her Lacrosse practices until I can sell it. I overheard her call it an "electric ass-mover." Her friend responded by saying, "Oh, that geekmobile thingy your dad dropped three grand on?"

  • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Tuesday February 19, 2002 @11:28AM (#3031987) Homepage Journal
    I want to be the first guy to fit a Chevy Smallblock V8 onto a Segway device...
  • Segway EULA?? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by starman97 ( 29863 ) on Tuesday February 19, 2002 @11:28AM (#3031988)
    From the web page: "Additionally,
    you shall operate your Segway(TM) HT only in accordance with the guidelines provided to you by Segway."

    I guess that means no Segway/halfpipe tricks...
    But what if you do, will they take it away?
    How about if soneone takes it apart and posts the link to pictures on Slashdot??
  • Why waste your money on the "Segway" when you can have a Megway [] instead? Personally, I like upcoming "MegRyan" model.
  • by The Wing Lover ( 106357 ) <> on Tuesday February 19, 2002 @11:50AM (#3032149) Homepage
    Well, gee, I was going to bid, but I don't think I'll send $13,100 USD to someone with 0 feedback...
  • Pogo! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Quixadhal ( 45024 ) on Tuesday February 19, 2002 @12:29PM (#3032216) Homepage Journal
    Hey, if these things are selling for >= $12k right now, how about a healthy alternative?

    For those who want to improve their coordination, excercise, AND still look like a fool, the POGO-STICK is the right tool for you!

    No wimpy 10MPH speed limits on these babies, you can go as fast as your muscles (and the pavement) will carry you!

    Act now, before anyone else makes their way to their local toy store and gets one first!
  • by aardwolf64 ( 160070 ) on Tuesday February 19, 2002 @12:30PM (#3032227) Homepage
    I wonder how long after it's released to the general public it will take some Slashdotter to overclock the blasted thing. Imagine facing the titanium justice of a 100Mph segway...
  • In neighboring NH, the governor signed a bill allowing them into use on the streets & sidewalks. Not too surprising, since Dean Kamen/Segway is based in NH.

    Here in VT, a Segway hireling has been demonstrating them to lawmakers--they show clips with various elected officials using them. The word is that no drivers license will be required, but you will have to be 16 to operate one.

    It seems they will want to do this in a majority of the 50 states before they sell them to the public. The electric/gas scooter sales ran into a problem here in VT when the state started requiring helmets & a motorcycle license. Segway is being very smart about this.

  • The Segway is just another C5 flop waiting to happen. It's not a bad invention but it suffers from a glaring and fatal flaw - only people with no sense of embarrassment will use one.

    The vast, vast majority of people would rightfully surmise that they'd look like a complete dork riding a Segway so the thing is pretty much doomed. Derision aside, it's not very practical either, requiring charging on a daily basis and likely to cost silly money. What is wrong with walking or using a bicycle I wonder?

    The segway might find a use in warehouses and such like where scooters, carts & other devices don't work but I don't see a big market there either.

  • by Nikan ( 156744 ) on Tuesday February 19, 2002 @01:03PM (#3032452)
    Just don't try to ride one of those segways away from Amazon. The Washington State Police may pull you over for riding an illegal vehicle... Washington State Patrol press release []
  • Segway: Because perception is transportation.
  • Unfortunately this rules out us Canadians (or anyone outside the States) to get this. The auction will only ship to residents of the U.S.

    I wonder about two things on this. First, it's a beta version basically. The first public release so I'm assuming they're going to hound the people that do eventually buy them with questionaires, follow them with cameras and generally keep track of what they're doing with them and how they find them. From this very limited audience they'll head back to the labs and make some tweaks and perhaps in a year or so they'll be ready for full scale deployment. While I see it as a good publicity stunt, don't you think that 3 is a somewhat limited number to allow out. Something more like 100 would be more useful for statistical analysis. Unless they're just going to put them out and not bother following up with the buyers, which I doubt.

    Second what about the liabilities and general use of this device? Governments and cities have yet to adopt any kind of urban renewal laws that the product first claimed would happen. There are no laws about riding it in public so is there any fallout from you knocking down someone (or more than likely, half killing yourself with it). Sure there's only 3 and maybe that is better than 100 out on the streets, but perhaps people are going to stare at this when it comes buzzing down the street like a deer in the headlights and not get out of the way. Should be fun to watch in any case.

  • I think this is a highly suspect auction. At present three units are up on Amazon, very close together in price - $13,000, $13,100, $13,988. And the profits go to Dean Kamen's own foundation, "to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people, their schools, and their communities."

    What if it is really just there to prove to investors that people are willing to pay the price of a small car for a motorized scooter? And what if someone linked to Kamen, or Kamen himself, were placing some of those bids at strategic prices like $13K?

    It worked for Scientology, after all.

  • Are here [] and here []. It looks like not everyone is buying into the hype of this thing.
  • by cr0sh ( 43134 )
    Interesting way of starting to get them out to the public, but somehow I think this is going to flop. The idea is interesting, the technology is cool - but the price is way too high for the people who would really want one and use it - kids.

    I realize this isn't the market they are aiming for, but it is the market that would ride it. How many times a week do you see kids riding those motorized scooters? Here in Phoenix, I see it almost daily. I think I have only managed to see an adult riding one a couple of times. Plus, for kids, it is too quiet - they don't want an electric scooter, otherwise you would see more Zap! scooters around - they want loud motor sounds (always been that way, I guess) - rice boy wannabee attitude, maybe? Who knows...

    Then there are the laws - I know that here in Phoenix anything with an under 25-30cc engine is classified as a "moped" - and can't go faster than 25 mph. You need a license, but any license will do - you also need a special insurance rider on your auto insurance, and you have to register the moped with the state (no titling, though) - costs about $5.00. I am sure similar laws exist in other states. However, here is where the problem lies:

    Electric or gas, these scooters will be under the moped rule - so they are motorized vehicles. Legally, that means no sidewalk use, plus no bike trail use - road use only. But they have no lights, so they aren't legal for driving on the road - so where do you drive them? It is a legal hole that needs "filling" - but lawmakers don't seem too eager to fill it (but I am sure they buy their kids all sorts of scooters!).

    The Segway will be affected by this same issue. The laws were created with small motorized bikes in mind (not motorized bicycles, typically considered a separate category!), like were popular in 70's and early 80's and made by European and Japanese companies (Honda and Peugeot mainly). Strangely enough, scooters weren't made in large quantities or at all, even though the idea was there (I remember seeing many an episode of "That's Incredible" and "Real People" wearing or riding motorized skateboards and electric roller skates)...

    I will be facing a similar situation - though I am going to do everything to be as legal as possible. I am currently in the process of building an electric recumbent vehicle. The frame is being built out of a 26" and 20" bikes (bought for $15.00 total at garage sales), and a DC motor I picked up at a local electronics junkyard (Apache Reclamation). Various other parts will be bought to complete the thing, welded together, etc - I plan on adding a full light system (headlight, front and rear turn/brake lights), and registering it as a moped.

    I think such a vehicle would be something more likely to gain broader acceptance among adults, rather than a scooter vehicle - the crazy thing is, recumbent bicycles have never been cheap. In fact, a lot of people have found recumbents so expensive that a lot build their own (do some googling on "recumbent", "homebrew" to see what I mean) - the parts aren't expensive, one would think that a cheap recumbent should cost no more than double the price of a cheap Huffy bike - but many times recumbents cost thousands (though even a good multi speed bike can set you back a lot).

    So, I am building my recumbent, but it is meant as a vehicle, not a bike - it is only built of bike parts (I plan on building it, getting it working, then stripping it down to the frame, cleaning and repainting it - so it won't be ghetto). So far, I have only spent $45.00 total on it, plus some time. I hope to have it come under $200.00 total, with most of the cost in the batteries...
  • Segway also has five units on trial with the USPS,for letter carrier use. That might, possibly, make sense, carrying around the mailbag. The USPS is always struggling with the problems of building vehicles for a trip length of 50 feet.
  • by ch-chuck ( 9622 ) on Tuesday February 19, 2002 @03:29PM (#3033506) Homepage
    You know, I was thinking about the gyro-stabilizer system when it occured to me, instead of a two wheel, forward-backward oriented system with differential wheel speeds for steering, how about just a SINGLE BALL?? The segway could be built upon a single, large tire-rubber ball, with an enclosure around the top 75% with rollers to keep the ball in place, and driven in TWO axis at once, sort of like an upside-down, motorized track ball? That way, instead of leaning fwd or bkwrds, you could lean in any direction you want to go toward that direction. Ok, you'd need a rotor to be able to POINT the driver platform in any of 360 degrees, but something like that should be the next evolution in these things.

No amount of genius can overcome a preoccupation with detail.