For the able-bodied, walking, while healthy, can be a pain. That’s especially true in Las Vegas, where the Strip feels like a neverending sprawl of interconnected casinos and flashing neon lights. Given that I average around 20,000 steps a day while at CES, taking Segway-Ninebot’s new S-Pod—a self-balancing stroller—for a spin felt like a good way to give my poor feet a break.
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There were lots of great reasons to hate on the original Segway: it was overhyped, it was expensive, it was easy to fall off, but most disappointing was that it required extensive standing. We were promised a future with minimal physical exertion, and Segway-Ninebot’s new S-Pod personal transporter finally delivers that—almost two decades later.
Emerging tech can get downright odd, and what was in the IFA Next Pavilion in Berlin this year was no exception. The space is basically a set of two circular halls — one red, one blue — that showcases startups and big-name brands alike. The thing they all have in common is they’re usually showing prototypes for novel ideas that, to be frank, may never actually make it to market.
The heat is on in an apparent fight between two e-scooter companies after Lime said earlier this week that some of the batteries made by one of its manufacturers, Segway Ninebot, could catch fire. Now, Segway is squaring up against the allegation, suggesting instead that Lime doesn't understand how batteries work.
Watching videos of people flipping and falling off of two-wheeled hoverboards such as the Segway miniPro is endlessly fun, but actually riding one and risking your neck? Not so much.
According to Abacus News, however, Ninebot has created a kit that converts the miniPro into a steerable go-kart, eliminating the risk of falling and increasing the risk of actually having fun.
Was the Segway ahead of its time, or just an overhyped product that could have never lived up to the anticipation? Being pricier than a used car didn't help the original Segway's chances, but at least now, electrical engineer Olaf Winkler has solved that problem with a ball-based self-balancing scooter that features a thousand dollar price tag.
A Segway you can carry in a laptop bag? That's what Cocoa Motors promised when it revealed the WalkCar, an ultra-compact personal transport, last year. And finally, after a year of perfecting its design, the WalkCar will be available for pre-order starting on October 21.
Remember that hoverboard craze? The fun toys that were mostly manufactured in China were a huge pop cultural phenomenon. That is until they started exploding and catching on fire. These cheap-arse hoverboards, which usually ran from $200 to $500, had the fatal flaw of randomly bursting into flames due to really terrible quality control of their poorly manufactured batteries. So the hoverboards were banned pretty much everywhere. Subways, planes, coffee shops, you name it, the hoverboard was banned. "Don't bring your exploding human transportation device anywhere near my artisanal coffee shop," a store owner might say.
After suing several hoverboard makers over patent violations last year, Segway, which is now owned by Chinese company Ninebot, revealed its own self-balancing scooter in January at CES. The hope, of course, is that the brand name (and accompanying expertise) means the new personal transporter won't explode while you're riding it. Five months later, the Segway MiniPro is finally available for pre-order for $US1000 ($1378).
"A robot in every home -- that's our target." Ready for mass production, Segway's personal robot is powered by an Intel Atom processor, uses a RealSense depth-sensing camera, and runs Android. Groceries too heavy at the store? Have your personal robot carry them for you. Tired of walking yourself? Jump on.
In September, Segway filed a lawsuit against Inventix for the not-Hoverboard, claiming a violation of their patents. On December 23, Segway filed two more suits, adding Razor and Swagway to the list.
The Inventist Hovertrax is a $US1500 auto-balancing skateboard that is very much not a hoverboard. It is also, according to Segway, in violation of a bunch of patents.
The first time New Zealand inventor Kevin Halsall stepped on a Segway, he saw the potential of using the technology to build a wheelchair that could be controlled without a joystick or requiring the rider to use their hands at all. So he bought one, stripped it down, and turned it into the Ogo.
A recent Reuters report makes a fairly sound case for the demise of Google Glass, which is obviously giving headline writers across the internet the opportunity to label it as This Generation's Segway. But that's far too important a title to give away without a long discussion and the posting of many, many GIFs of people falling off Segways. In the name of science, of course.
It's almost as if Segway decided to make its own non-balancing Segway knock-off, but there are actually strategic reasons for adding that third wheel, the company claims. Because the SE-3 Patroller isn't always self-balancing and making constant minute adjustments, it can maximise its range with its rechargeable and swappable Li-ion batteries. And, it's much easier for police officers or security guards to quick hop on and off when in pursuit of a suspect.
If the only thing stopping you from riding around town on a Segway is, well, looking like someone riding around town on a Segway, this enhanced version might make you a little less hesitant about being seen in public on one. And it's all thanks to a handful of Vespa scooters that had to sacrifice their lives for this creation.