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$5,000 and a maximum speed of 12mph? Why?(57 posts)

$5,000 and a maximum speed of 12mph? Why?Ken of Fresno
Nov 18, 2002 10:55 AM
Why not just get a bicycle instead? You can go faster and keep from getting fat. You wouldn't need to recharge your batteries every 15 miles either.

I guess if you just gotta have one Amazon's got 'em for sale now.

We just had this discussion at my officePaulCL
Nov 18, 2002 11:19 AM
On CNBC this AM, Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, was touting the Segway. He said it was perfect for commuter/college students with less than 5miles to travel to work/school.


In our office discussion, I suggested spending $300 on a bike, $100 on accessories (like raingear) and investing the remaining $4600. I was instantly pigeoned holed as a single minded cyclist.

There are positives....if this thing can replace a few thousand cars on the road, well, then great. Over time the price will come down to a more reasonable number. But can you imagine anyone riding one of those things in the rain?? Will it short out??
When I learned the revolutionary device known as "It" was ...Allez Rouge
Nov 18, 2002 11:20 AM
... this overpriced, computer-controlled idiocy, my very first thought was: How, exactly, are the problems riders of the Segway will face be any different from the problems cyclists have always faced? Starting with: where will you ride them? It's three to four times faster than even a brisk-walking pedestrian, so putting Segways on the sidewalks ain't going to work. But it can only go about 1/3 to 1/2 the speed of vehicular traffic on city streets, so that's out, too. What do you do when it rains? Or gets dark? Where do you put your briefcase? Your lunch? And so on and so forth.

A classic case of an answer to a question no one asked, IMO.
When I learned the revolutionary device known as "It" was ...joekm
Nov 18, 2002 12:05 PM
Or gets dark? Where do you put your briefcase? Your lunch? And so on and so forth.

I seem to remember a Post Office prototype that had pannier
racks so that mail carriers could park on the edge of a neighborhood and use these scooters to deliver the mail.

not sure though...
I hadn't thought about mail delivery.Allez Rouge
Nov 18, 2002 12:17 PM
That's one application for which the Segway might actually make sense (although precipitation could still be a problem: "Neither rain, nor snow, nor shorted-out Segway motherboard ..."). And there are probably a few others, such as for personal transportation in big sprawling factories. But the advance hype I heard was that "It" was going to revolutionize the world, that EVERYone would soon have one, blah blah blah. Well, here's a clue: the only people who'll buy these things will be rich Yups, and even when they do all have Segways it will NOT pry them out of their Lincoln Navigators ...
seriously though....joekm
Nov 18, 2002 12:25 PM
If they could take the price down to $500.00 and make it so it collapses into a unit small enough that a commuter could carry it with them on a bus/train then they might have something.

As for now, like you said, it's a yuppie toy.
At 83 lbs it'll be fun and convenient to get out of a car...PdxMark
Nov 18, 2002 12:29 PM
or 95 pounds for the cargo version

With a passenger weight limit of 250 pounds, Segway owners will have just a couple years of riding time before they'll hit the weight limit and have to park their toys to start walking.
Apparently, the laws have been amendedBrooks
Nov 18, 2002 1:42 PM
in thirty-something states to allow these things on sidewalks (at least according to Good Morning America who have been touting these things as the world-beaters they will never be.)
Laws, schmawsAllez Rouge
Nov 18, 2002 1:50 PM
Okay, so thirty-odd states now (or will) allow these things on sideswalks. Which means that this perfectly legal mix of Segways and pedestrians ought to coexist every bit as well the perfectly legal mix of bicycles and cars ... uh-oh. Houston, we have a problem ...
Just maybe it might work!Nigey
Nov 18, 2002 12:23 PM
Well, ok, maybe not, here are some questions:

Where to use them...
Reliability -how long will the batteries/gyroscope thingy last for? Cost of replacing?
How do you lock them up?
How do you go over kerbs?
And the cost?

One thing I've learnt is that sometimes what you consider to be absolutely stupid ideas (as I consider the Segue to be) are very successful. So maybe it might work -I just can't see it doing so given the questions above.

It does make my blood boil a little bit when I see the USPS (I think it was them) placing orders for them. Yerrikes, they could get a much more reliable, mature product with a bicycle -even a motorized one at that.

Lastly, the thought of even more unfit overweight Americans (OK, so I'm one of them being overweight) having an excuse not to walk just apalls me -and don't forget anything manufactured comes with an environmental cost -not counting the cost of generating the electricity to recharge them.

Betcha they sell out on Amazon though..... Hey, has anyone got a souped up Sinclair C5?
FYI, Sinclair C-5Nigey
Nov 18, 2002 12:27 PM
$14 million and maximum speed of 1 mph?trekkie1
Nov 18, 2002 12:24 PM
I guess everything is relative. Oh, and that was the cost in 1967.

The ultimate SUV -- fuel economy of 1/150th of a mile per gallon!
I think "it" will be good for a small population...timfire
Nov 18, 2002 12:27 PM
I, too, didn't buy it when people said the Segway would revolutionize the world, but I think it will be very good for a small population of people. Besides mailmen, I think it will also be good for the elderly and and some disabled people, mainly people who have limited mobility but can still stand and walk. I know a few mildly handicapped people who have trouble walking fast or long distances, and I think a Segway would benefit them.

--Tim Kleinert
Nov 18, 2002 1:29 PM
I can see six or seven Mall Police swarming a shoplifter on these things.
....and not even dropping their donuts!!!! (nm)Alexx
Nov 18, 2002 1:53 PM
I think shoplifters can run faster than 12 mph. (nm)Ken of Fresno
Nov 18, 2002 6:46 PM
Can anyone run 12 MPH?Kristin
Nov 19, 2002 7:53 AM
Excluding toddlers, of course, who travel at the speed of light.
I just hit 15 while pushing my road bike down the street, soKen of Fresno
Nov 19, 2002 9:48 AM
I would say "yes." And this for a 225lb guy wearing fuzzy slippers. Hmm. I wonder what my neighbors just thought. I am very out of breath now and need to take a break.
LOL - thanks!Kristin
Nov 19, 2002 11:23 AM
That's great. We at the board may be contacting you to assist us with future scientific research.
12 MPH = 5 min/mileMisJG
Nov 19, 2002 10:59 AM
That's fast, but most 5k races (3.1 miles) are won in under 15 min. Me? I finish my 5ks in about 21 min, averaging 7 min/mile (or 8.6 mph). (Marathons, for me, are 10 min/mile or 6 mph)

To put things in perspective, the men's world record for the Marathon is 2:05 and some change. If you round up to 2:06, that's an average of 4.8 min/mile or 12.5 mph.

Sprinters (as in any sport) go faster, but for much shorter duration.
Wow... Ken, read this.Kristin
Nov 19, 2002 11:24 AM
You should be a runner. Appearantly you're quite fast!
Yea, for the first 50 feet. :)Ken of Fresno
Nov 19, 2002 11:34 AM
Even when I was skinny running was just not my thing. I didn't even pass the running part of PE until the 12th grade. I guess your board will have to look elsewehre for a guinea pig. Darn!
but it's range isnt long enough to finish a marathon (nm)ColnagoFE
Nov 19, 2002 11:30 AM
The only reason this thing is even worth talking about...fbg111
Nov 18, 2002 1:47 PM
... is its nifty gyroscopic drive system. Technically, it's a cool gadget. However, I think in this case, necessity is certainly not the mother of invention. I think Dean Kamen was just screwing around in his lab one weekend, figured out this cool drive system, then tried to devise something that would actually use it. It's not like there was any need, or market, for it.

As for the hype of revolutionizing transportation, I never really took that seriously anyway, even before I actually saw Segway in action. Few inventions that claim to be revolutionary, actually are. It's just a cheap way of getting a lot publicity.
but he stole the technology!KSC
Nov 18, 2002 4:42 PM
A Japanese professor apparently developed a prototype of a very similar device 15 years ago. The patent he holds on it, will potentially cause legal problems trying to sell the Segway in Japan. Read on:
but he stole the technology!firstrax
Nov 18, 2002 8:55 PM
Looks like different technologies but with a similar end result.
The patent holder rarely gets the credit or the moneyKristin
Nov 19, 2002 8:04 AM
My great grandfather invented air-cooled motor. I'm certainly not an heir to any great automotive fortunes. No one even knows the name RMG Phillips. Everyone knows the name Volkswagon though--who found fame originally because of that motor. And some know the name Franklin--who stole the invention. Its sort of the way of things. There are two types of people in innovation. Those that come up with amazing ideas, and those that make money off of them. Rarely does one person do both.

Apple computer didn't invent GUI, right? We all watched the PBS special depicting the rise of the PC. It was invented by some genuises at Xerox who were ignored by upper management. Then Steve Jobs takes a tour of the facility, sees a mouse and history is made. Steve Jobs was no the innovator of GUI, neither was Bill Gates. Though Bill Gates was the innovator of DOS. Everything after that, he stole.

Its a sad tale, repeated throughout history; but not at all uncommon.
not even DOS..dotkaye
Nov 19, 2002 11:18 AM
actually Gates/Microsoft bought DOS from Seattle Computer Products when the developer of CP/M refused to sign a non-disclosure agreement for IBM to use CP/M on the PC. DOS was (is) an imitation of CP/M. Gates never originated anything as far as I can tell. Great businessman, but not an alpha geek or even beta.. maybe a zeta geek..
They need to make a Segway rack for your car.Sintesi
Nov 18, 2002 1:50 PM
Then you won't have to walk from your car to the Walmart. I can see applications in areas with big parking lots. This could save gobs of time and effort.
I think the requirement to stand and...No_sprint
Nov 18, 2002 1:56 PM
the 250 weight limit eliminates their largest potential market.
I can't wait to see the first one arrive on my locall mall!GeoCyclist
Nov 18, 2002 1:57 PM
I'll be filing a petition to get the "NO Bicycles / Skate Boards" signs removed. If a non handicapped person can use a MOTORIZED vehicle on the sidewalk or mall, why can't I use my skateboard / bike / or SUV? I can see some serious litigation on the horizon!

I bet I could do better than 12 MPH on my old skateboard, and it cost me less than $100.
I would buy one if it reached 35 MPH (nm)Kristin
Nov 18, 2002 2:02 PM
2001 at the TD Palm Springs, Lee Iacocca sez ...Humma Hah
Nov 18, 2002 2:31 PM
"People ask me, why do we need electric bicycles. Well, its because the baby boomers are getting too old to ride regular bicycles."

So Lee got on his e-bike to lead the 10-mile ride, and I swung my aging baby-boomer leg over the cruiser and headed out for the century, shaking my head in sorrow at his statement.
Hey, at least he was thinking BIKES instead of cars. (nm)Allez Rouge
Nov 18, 2002 2:33 PM
My vote for the dumbest SH*T ever!(nm)merckx56
Nov 18, 2002 5:04 PM
is it necessary to plug that 'book' store??? (nm)zeke
Nov 18, 2002 6:54 PM
they call me "Jazzy Ray"desmo
Nov 18, 2002 7:18 PM
what's the difference between this thing and those "jazzy", or "rascal", or what ever the fork electro scooters the old folks tool around on? what a revolution, so hip!
re: $5,000 and a maximum speed of 12mph? Why?TPC
Nov 18, 2002 10:28 PM
Just to clarify a couple things.

1. Kamen was looking for ways to improve wheelchairs when he came up with this idea.

2. What is totally revolutionary is the way it works. The electric motor is not what propels it. The gravitational pull on your body when you lean forward is used to propel it. The electric motors just stabilize and control the propulsion--they are not the propulsion.

3. Why be narrow-minded? This is just the first incarnation/use of this new propulsion/stabilizing mechanism. When the personal computer first came out in the early '70's most people thought that the ONLY thing it would be good for is housewives storing their cooking recipes.

I see it as a positive for cyclists. Maybe we'll now get huge wide lanes dedicated to segways and US.

Also, a lot of old people who are too diminished in their driving abilities and are causing accidents now have an alternative. Maybe now the DMV will have the balls to take away their drivers licenses.
well said...Steve_0
Nov 19, 2002 6:46 AM
I think many posters here are losing sight of the fact that when the automobile was first introduced, it was slower, noisier, and much more costly than a horse.

Openmindedness and acceptance is what allowed it to develop into +200mph machines (which are less expensive than a horse)
With all due respect ...Allez Rouge
Nov 19, 2002 7:38 AM
... I don't see it as narrow-mindedness. I see it as cold-eyed realism. My skepticism is founded on the Segway not offering any *significant* advantages over generally similar devices that already exist (motorized wheelchairs and electric bicycles, to name two) while failing to solve the problems that plague those other devices (lack of cargo space, weather exposure, size, weight, speed differential to other traffic). And it does all this -- or fails to do it, as the case may be -- at a very high price. Given the amount of venture capital that's tied up in this thing, it's less than stunning.

You are correct that this is just the first incarnation, and that we should perhaps wait and see. But I don't think the comparison to early PCs holds up. From Day One, early PCs had the *potential* to do a lot more than track recipes -- people just couldn't *visualize* them doing more. But that did not mean the potential wasn't real, wasn't actually already there. With the Segway, the situation is the reverse. It's fairly easy to visualize all manner of applications: mail and pizza deliveries, transpo for the elderly or semi-infirm, short-distance commuting, students scurrying to their next class on a large, sprawling campus. But in all these cases, those same basic problems remain, and it doesn't take a deep thinker to see them. Instead of confronting the problems that will limit its potential, the Segway ignores them; instead of being a Revolutionary Solution, it is merely a Cute Alternative with nothing startlingly new to offer.

Having said all that, you have won me over on one point: it could be a positive for cyclists if it helps establish a network of lanes intended for traffic that is faster than pedestrians, slower than cars and trucks. Under the current system, I believe firmly that the best place for bicycles is in the roadway, acting like the vehicles they are. In the long run, however, and despite certain failings of bike lanes (as opposed to bike paths, completely separate from the roadways), I believe that dedicated bike lanes are the answer to most of our problems. I'd be perfectly willing to share such lanes with hordes of Segway "pilots" (assuming they understand the concept of holding their line, of course, so that a cyclist going 20mph can safely pass them when they're maxed out at 12).

No flames intended here. Sweep away all the scoffs and guffaws and what remains is actually a pretty thought-provoking thread.
No advantage over a wheelchair?czardonic
Nov 19, 2002 11:34 AM
I think that the upright riding position alone makes it a significant improvement. Better reach, better visibility, easier to mount and dismount, etc. I would imagine that being able to stand up alone rather than being confined to a chair offers a significant psychological boost. It also seems a lot more maneuverable than a wheel chair (or a bike for that matter).
Okay, SOME advantage over a wheelchairAllez Rouge
Nov 19, 2002 11:50 AM
I had considered most of the points you raised, including the psychological one. Lots of stigma associated with being a wheelchair -- it's not right, but it exists. I would consider that, and the increased manueverability, the biggest theoretical advantages the Segway offers. In all the other respects, I personally see it as merely different, not necessarily better.

But this is all mostly quibbling over semantics. My essential point remains: no matter what improvements the Segway offers, what about the problems it fails to address? Issues like weather protection, luggage capacity, and speed mismatches with cars and pedestrians aren't just niggling faults. They're deal-breakers. To ignore them is much like asking, "Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?"
Then lets talk about them.czardonic
Nov 19, 2002 1:16 PM
  • Weather protection.
    I haven't read up on this particular device. Is there any reason to assume that it can't be weather-proofed? I can't think of any technical reason why anything short of snow would keep this thing off the streets. This is espscially true if, as has been said above, the only powered element is the gyroscope system, which could be sealed.

  • Luggage capacity.
    Why couldn't someone wear a backpack or messenger bag, or stow their purse between their feet? A person riding such a device would have at least as much luggage capacity as a person on foot. Plus, there are apparently storage compartments that can be attached.

  • Speed differences.
    Here is where I agree. It needs to be slowed down for use on sidewalks. The streets will never be safe for anything but automobiles. That being said, electric wheelchairs can move down the sidewalk at a pretty good clip, and that hasn't been a significant problem.

    Personally, I don't see any deal breakers here.
  • Sure, I'm up for continuing the discussion ...Allez Rouge
    Nov 19, 2002 2:12 PM
    ... all in good fun and the interests of expanding our respective outlooks, of course.

    Weather Protection: I don't mean the Segway itself, I'm sure it can be made as water-resistant as a $10 Timex, but for the driver/rider/operator/pilot (what WOULD the correct term be?). There are people who are fairly dedicated cyclists who commute by bicycle when the weather's nice, but drive their cars when it rains, or when rain is forecast. Would Segway owners be any different? I don't think so. Can you REALLY see hordes of these things scooting along the sidewalks in a driving rain, with the riders' faces being pelted by their own 12mph speed? Do you see people suiting up in GoreTex rainsuits and neoprene booties, and putting their purses and briefcases into plastic bags to keep them sort-of dry? I don't. Too much hassle, especially for the I'm-too-lazy-to-walk-or-pedal wimps who will buy these things. As for snow, 12mph will add a pretty stout wind chill to whatever the air temperature happens to be. Will Segway owners bundle up and tough it out? Again, I don't think so.

    Luggage Capacity: Purses and brown-bag lunches are easy, but one reason people are so married to their cars (including me, I'll admit it) is because cars are the very essence of our suburban-living, mall-shopping, fast-food-eating society. People drive cars in large part because they have Places To Go (work, grocery store) and Kids To Drop Off (soccer, karate) and Things To Pick Up (laundry, pizza, new batteries for the cell phone). A Segway might be an adequate substitute for the subway for a city dweller on his way to and from work (at least if the weather's nice) but there's just no way the things will ever make an impact on the number of cars on the roads simply because they will carry only one person, and they won't carry enough Stuff. People might buy Segways with good intentions of using them, and maybe they actually will for a short while, but they'll soon be back in their cars and the Segqay will be collecting dust in the garage alongside the Bow-Flex and the his-and-hers Easy Living bikes from Sears.

    Here I will interject that even if the Segway's target market is city dwellers, as an alternative to walking; even if there's no intent to sell it as a substitute for a car ... that is still a worthy goal. But, the problems (as I see them) remain. Of those problems, I think weather protection for the rider is the biggie.

    Speed Differences: As you said, we're already together on this one. Twelve mph is actually a rather awkward speed: too fast for sidewalks, too slow for the roads; but go much faster and the rider is in real danger if he falls off.

    I am not, by nature, a pessimist. I just happen to think that the Segway is an interesting piece of technology with extremely limited practical uses.
    It certainly has its own hurdles.czardonic
    Nov 19, 2002 4:05 PM
    Nonetheless, I think that it could do some good and little if any harm.

    Weather protection: Maybe my POV is skewed because I live in California, where it would almost never be too inclement to use one of these things. Still, even if it only gets people out of their cars on sunny days, isn't that a vast improvement? Shouldn't it be afforded the same credit that we give to those bikes that never make it out in the rain or snow? On the other hand, people who drive instead of riding a bike even on sunny days would have a way to get around without their cars. It wouldn't make them any fitter or thinner, but they aren't gong to exercise anyway. For the rest of us it would mean less congestion of our streets and air.

    Luggage Capacity: If people have enough luggage to justify driving a car, shouldn't they drive one? This doesn't seem like a drawback to the Segway itself. I don't have a car, and lo-and-behold I never "need" more than I can fit into a messenger bag.

    You are right that the Segway is largely incompatible with America's suburban lifestyle. Have you considered that this may be part of the reason it was invented? I think that inherent to the quest for alternative transportation is a quest to convince Americans that our communities can exist in a way that makes transportation easy without requiring automobiles and the attendant waste and expense. Rather than offering a practical solution to the problems of today's world, they point to the possibility of a world that does not have these problems in the first place. There is a certain Utopian underscore to these projects that is either visionary or naive depending on how you see the future. If our suburbs spread indefinitely, and services continue to be concentrated in car friendly malls, lightweight personal transportation is doomed. But lets consider the possible futures in which the distances people need to travel will shorten:

  • The End of the Age of the Suburb.
    Suburbs can not be expected to expand indefinitely. Space is finite, and it is costly to provide services to widely spread out communities. Plus, there comes a point when commute times to urban centers becomes impractical. Telecommuting would solve part of the problem, and the rest of societies needs would no doubt be serviced by mini-urban satellites which would bring goods and services back within walking distance. These centers of business and commerce could evolve from today's malls; there would be plenty of space to build local schools and office parks in the acres now devoted to parking lots.

  • Amazon Takes Over the World.
    I am not so sure that buying everything you need and having it delivered to your house is a New Economy pipe dream. It is more efficient to have a few delivery trucks canvassing a neighborhood than a car for each person driving to the same store, and on-line merchants can offer variety that can never be matched by brick-and-mortar shops. This would greatly reduce the need to cart around groceries etc., and give people more time to tool around the neighborhood in their personal mag-lev pods.

  • The Re-Birth of the Community.
    As our world becomes increasingly insecure, people who can afford to do so are flocking to "gated communities". It is conceivable that these will become more popular, and develop into actual self-contained communities that include local shops and services. With all the necessities close at hand and the possibility of tele commuting to work, a long-range cargo capable vehicle would be unnecessary.

    These futures are proffered with tongue securely in cheek. However, I don't think it is unrealistic to think that elements of all three (among others) will be called upon to answer challenges to the Freeway/Mall paradigm down the road.

    In the meantime, those of us who already live within Segway distance of our schools, shops and places of work (us urbanites) can reap the benefits of the Segway today.
  • It certainly has its own hurdles. (cont.)czardonic
    Nov 19, 2002 4:06 PM
    In the meantime, those of us who already live within Segway distance of our schools, shops and places of work (us urbanites) can reap the benefits of the Segway today. Heck, devices like this could even inspire a trend of urban renewal, as there is once again a reason to keep our streets safe and our local businesses in business. At the very least, it is less degrading than taking the bus.
    That would create the problems we have in Chicago...timfire
    Nov 19, 2002 6:07 PM
    This now is totally off-topic, but the idea of "urban renewal," aka gentrification, creates problems that we're seeing Chicago. Chicago is the only big city I know of that more people are moving in that out. But what is happening is that the yuppies are moving in and forcing the lower class out to the suburbs. The problem with that is the suburbs aren't set up to accomidate people who may not own a car. Also, the suburbs don't have many of the services to help those people. Right now in some of Chicago's poorer suburbs their is a major medical-care & social services crisis going.

    Sorry for my little rant...

    --Tim Kleinert
    A preliminary question ...Allez Rouge
    Nov 20, 2002 6:17 AM
    I have a meeting to get to so I'll have to respond more fully later in the day, but for now, one question: why do you say that taking the bus is degrading?
    Nov 20, 2002 11:39 AM
    Where I live busses are filthy, expensive (for what you get), and chronically off-schedule. I have literally walked more than a mile to a destination without being passed by busses that should run every 15 min.
    Busses: gotcha.Allez Rouge
    Nov 21, 2002 5:17 AM
    Okay ... I don't presume to choose your words for you, but I wonder if "degrading" was less than ideal. "Frustrating," perhaps? The complaints you list (all valid, and ones I have experienced too) really stem from management problems and could be fixed. I thought you were saying there is something humiliating or lower-class about riding the bus. Now, I'm pretty sure that's not what you meant.

    On the main topic, I'm still somewhat jammed up at work but the much larger problem is figuring out what I want to say in something less than War And Peace length. I'll keep working on it and MAYBE will be able to post something later today. In the meantime I'll just say that on an idealistic level I do not disagree with you at all, and agree fully that the Segway's main problem is overcoming all those hurdles. IOW, I too would LIKE to see it succeed, but I fear the deck is too well stacked against it. More to come.
    Lower class, no. But humiliating.czardonic
    Nov 21, 2002 11:11 AM
    After all, aren't the typical bus conditions a reminder that if you can't afford a car, you are not worthy of timely service, clean busses, or a competently managed system? I don't think this is the fault of a lower income barcket ridership. Around here the service isn't exactly cheap.

    Anyway, I'm still tuning in to this thread. . .
    Speaking of the cold...timfire
    Nov 19, 2002 5:57 PM
    On a bike you create your heat. Standing on a Segway with a 12mph headwind in even 40 degree weather (and I consider that warm for cycling) would be horrible. I think anything under 60 degrees would be too cold for a Segway to make any sort of extended trip.

    --Tim Kleinert
    Further to fall. nm.No_sprint
    Nov 19, 2002 3:24 PM
    But easier to bail. (nm)czardonic
    Nov 19, 2002 4:07 PM
    Yeah look at the computer todayColnagoFE
    Nov 19, 2002 11:32 AM
    Now in addition to storing recipes we can pirate free music, chat on bulletin boards when we should be working and get free porn!!!!!
    I don't think that's how it works.Allez Rouge
    Nov 20, 2002 6:15 AM
    The electric motor is not what propels it. The gravitational pull on your body when you lean forward is used to propel it. The electric motors just stabilize and control the propulsion--they are not the propulsion.

    That's not the way I understand it; and if it DID work that way, you'd be inching closer to having the mythical perpetual motion machine.

    I think the way the Segway works is like this: the rider leans forward; if this motion was left unchecked, he would fall flat on his face; the Segway's computer senses the forward lean and triggers the electric motors to propel the machine and rider forward, to counteract the forward lean. As long as the rider continues to lean forward, the Segway's motors continue propeling the unit. When he leans back upright, the motors stop.

    IOW, the gravitational pull of the rider's body TRIGGERS the propulsion system into action, but the electric motors are in fact providing the drive. If they were only providing balance and control, the range would surely be a lot more than 15 miles.
    my 83 yr old grandmother with arthritic knees could use one nmtrekkie1
    Nov 20, 2002 7:07 AM