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November 18, 2002 6:48 AM   Subscribe

Pre-order your Ginger today! Amazon scores exclusive selling rights, apparently.
posted by adamms222 (70 comments total)

 
Hand-numbered collector's print, perfect for holiday giving, delivered now with each deposit.

It had better be hand-numbered by Kamen himself, with a cute little drawing of the number "6" as a segway whenever possible.
posted by Stan Chin at 6:53 AM on November 18, 2002


they haven't launched these things yet? I thought they were available ages ago. Huh...

rode one at farnborough last year... odd. very odd.
posted by twine42 at 7:18 AM on November 18, 2002


At a top speed of 12.5 miles an hour under perfect conditions, I figure this baby would take me 8 and a 1/2 hours to get to work each day. ( stopping halfway to re-charge.)
And all at a price everyone can afford! No thanks, really. It's pretty much worthless at this point, unless you are a rich guy who travels less than 4 miles to work and back each day, likes to get caught in the rain, has no baggage, doesn't have a kid, and has a secret desire be giggled at.
posted by bradth27 at 7:18 AM on November 18, 2002


They sold some (I think a post office somewhere bought some), but not yet to the general public.
posted by Utilitaritron at 7:21 AM on November 18, 2002


This was already mentioned in the very recent, and still active Kamen thread.

Somebody better lay the smack down.
posted by dgaicun at 7:25 AM on November 18, 2002


who travels less than 4 miles to work and back each day

Segway is meant to be used inside of cities. 50% of the world's population live inside cities. Using this (or any other electric vehicle) would greatly reduce air and sound pollution in a city.

has no baggage

Already being used in warehouses and by the post office. Attachments can be added to carry cargo.
posted by jsonic at 7:28 AM on November 18, 2002


Adamms222 it's called a Segway. Calling it Ginger is sooo 1999.
posted by Eyegore at 7:33 AM on November 18, 2002


For the price I would rather sit.
posted by thomcatspike at 7:45 AM on November 18, 2002


I think these things are great and would really like to have one, although I will wait till the price comes down a bit. Can't wait to try one out! Has anybody ridden one and, if so, what was your impression?
posted by wsg at 7:53 AM on November 18, 2002


Yes, the Segway is pretty neat. I think it'd be fun to have at my office for quick trips around downtown to meetings and such (I work in a fairly major metropolitan area). For getting into the office, however, I still prefer more traditional methods, which happen to be much cheaper than this newfangled business (or, what thomcatspike said).
posted by ScottUltra at 7:56 AM on November 18, 2002


Maybe some rich suckers will buy the Segway as a novelty, but here in Atlanta we just couldn't stop laughing at police on wheels, so the APD decided against buying them.
posted by oh posey at 7:57 AM on November 18, 2002


jsonic, my point is this-

It's way overpriced, severely underpowered, and not very economical... according to the website, you can "reasonably expect" it to travel around 10 miles on a charge. Which probably means that you can reasonably expect it to travel 8.
What is so innovative about this product, besides the fact that "you can stand up on it!?"
Realistically, if you want an electric vehicle that will get you where you want to go farther, faster, and a hell of a lot safer.... buy an electric scooter. They've been around for years, they have an EXTRA wheel, they have room for a passenger, they make little noise, they move quite a bit faster, they're environmentally friendly, they travel 5 times the distance on a single charge, they have cargo space ( the Sedgway hasn't released the add-ons to the public yet. Soon to come, they claim.) - AND, get this! they're cheaper! who would have guessed?

The only thing this piece of junk would be good for would be for senior citizens browsing the mall. Oh wait, If you have problems standing for long periods of time, this might not be the ideal mode of transportation for you. ( according to the site.)
Hell, I can't think of one good reason for it.

As for it being intended for city use, Not really. Hell, 10 miles on a single charge? How many people live less than 4 miles from work? ( you better give yourself an extra mile or so, unless you want to drag it home.) Your boss isn't going to let you charge it on the company dollar for long, let me assure you.

In my opinion, this whole campaign is simple brainwashing by the media. It's not innovative, it's not realistically sound transportation, and it's not by any means worth 5,000 bucks. On the other hand, who can pass one of these up, after The Today show crew speaks so highly of it? It's just a toy, really. a really expensive toy.
posted by bradth27 at 7:57 AM on November 18, 2002


It seems like the kind of thing that rich people will buy and then leave in their garage, but can say that they have simply for the effect of making their wealth known [not that they would necessarily need anotherway to make their wealth known]. like the exercise bicycle that is really used more like a closet, it will be one other piece of clutter that "we really should use more often".

on preview, what bradth27 said about it being a really expensive toy.
posted by zorrine at 8:09 AM on November 18, 2002


it's kind of ugly, too.
posted by angry modem at 8:10 AM on November 18, 2002


Amazon is becoming the Wal Mart of online stores. Pretty soon you'll be able to order a grill, ten quarts of Pennzoil, a new tent and condoms from Amazon.

And toss in a Segway while you're at it.

I'm not sure if this is a good or bad sign.
posted by xmutex at 8:11 AM on November 18, 2002


Isn't the Segway just the US's Sinclair C5?
posted by walrus at 8:13 AM on November 18, 2002


I can't wait to see Segway customization. I'm sure they'll appear in rap videos before too long with 24" chrome wheels and handle bar streamers.

They may not be practical, but there is a wow factor seeing one in person. I saw the cops in Atlanta riding them. They're good for patrols and visibility, but not for pursuit.
posted by Frank Grimes at 8:19 AM on November 18, 2002


I may be completely off on this one, but didn't Amazon say it was going to buy a bunch of Segway's for its warehouses?
posted by risenc at 8:19 AM on November 18, 2002


I know that a really smart guy made this and there were lots of studies done, but this device seems like it was designed in a late-night, bong session. Dude, it will like save the planet.

Also any device that requires people to change in order for it to be used will not be successful.
posted by monkeyman at 8:22 AM on November 18, 2002


bah, I thought this was something about a Gilligan's Island action figure set.
posted by tolkhan at 8:51 AM on November 18, 2002


Is it cool to make fun of the segway now? I don't get it. I think it's an incredible invention, everything Dean Kamen said it would be, and I can't wait for the price to come down to normal levels so I can buy one. I -DO- live within 4 miles of my workplace, and Orlando has a horrible problem with traffic. Personally I think the price should be comparable to a moped, so somewhere around $500 will be a fair price. Once it gets down to that level I'll be buying a pair for my wife and myself to zip around town. We've got bike lanes and scenic nature trails all over this city that would perfect for it.
posted by Eyegore at 8:52 AM on November 18, 2002


Some of the very earliest automobiles ran on steam. It took an hour to heat up the water to power the car before you could even take the shortest trip. Once underway, the driver was required constant attention to gauges and the manipulation of controls in order to maintain his speed. Though rare, boiler explosions were feared. Sales of the steam cars lagged behind ones with internal combustion engines.

First iterations of any product are never perfect. It's always easier to be a naysayer. Early skeptics thought no one would be interested in television, either, because of the poor picture quality.

But you're welcome to be cranky about this. It's what separates the pessimists from the optimists.
posted by crunchland at 8:56 AM on November 18, 2002


any device that requires people to change in order for it to be used will not be successful

Transportationally, i can personally vouch for that. Never learned to ride a bike, couldn't be bothered learning to drive. Change? This laddy's not for turning (unless it's in that cool rotational segway way).
posted by robself at 9:08 AM on November 18, 2002


Hey crunchland, do you believe in the amazing healing powers of magnets?

No? Oh. . .you must be a cranky pessimist. Remember, the world laughed at Galileo too.
posted by dgaicun at 9:12 AM on November 18, 2002


Double-Post!
Viral Marketing!
(Not really. I just wanted to be MetaCool for a change.)

Aside from its questionable status as MailCarrierMobile and stupid, impractical toy, isn't Segway really a foot in the door towards hydrogen-fueled transportation?

Isn't Segway just quiet, unassuming proof that we could have had cheap, reliable, clean(er), non-fossil fuel a long time ago, if the auto industry didn't buy out and bury every engine that threatens them? Isn't this the real significance? I mean, there must be something behind all the hype, eh?
posted by Shane at 9:14 AM on November 18, 2002


xmutex, it's too late. You can buy a grill, motor oil, tents, and condoms from Amazon's search pages.
posted by mathowie at 9:19 AM on November 18, 2002


I'll take my bike. It's faster, has better range, and is about a twentieth of the cost.

I honestly don't see how anyone can say these things aren't impractical.
posted by pemulis at 9:19 AM on November 18, 2002


First iterations of any product are never perfect. It's always easier to be a naysayer. Early skeptics thought no one would be interested in television, either, because of the poor picture quality.


Agreed- I'm soooooo glad everyone's trashing this... you've all clearly never worked on the early home computers, which also were ugly, expensive, and not very practical.

And oh yeah, I work w/in 4 miles of my job. I'd venture to say most NYC residents do.

And bradth27- where's the "extra wheel" on your scooter? I'm counting 2, same as the Segway.
posted by mkultra at 9:19 AM on November 18, 2002


Thank god there's something. I couldn't stand to be be around those optimists all the time.

I don't think it's 'cool' to make fun of the Segway. I think it's reasonable to question its utility. Leaving aside entirely the issues of speed, range, etc., which could theoretically improve in future iterations of the product: I would rather be torn to pieces by wild dogs than have to stand for the half hour or so I might be riding this thing at a time. For me it is much, much harder to stand still than to walk for prolonged periods of time. If this thing had a seat I might be less skeptical.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 9:22 AM on November 18, 2002


I know that a really smart guy made this and there were lots of studies done, but this device seems like it was designed in a late-night, bong session. Dude, it will like save the planet.

Also any device that requires people to change in order for it to be used will not be successful.


The reality is a little different and a little more compelling. I always find it interesting when people have so much to say about something they've never experienced first-hand.

Love it, hate it, whatever, but at least take a ride on one before you judge it and write volumes about your opinion. It reminds me of all the Henry Ford naysayers earlier last century when he came out and mass-produced automobiles... "Messy," "smelly," "not practical," "A horse is still better."
posted by docjohn at 9:39 AM on November 18, 2002


If you live within four miles of work, WALK TO WORK. You need the exercise. It'll make up for the 3 hours of sitting at your desk reading MeFi that you put in each day.
posted by blue_beetle at 10:25 AM on November 18, 2002


How many people live less than 4 miles from work?

i do. i moved so i could live 3 blocks from my work. it's not the nicest neigborhood in the world, but the commute kicks ass. i fully recommend it. I roll out of bed a half hour before 9, and usually get to work a little bit before then.
posted by fishfucker at 10:48 AM on November 18, 2002


I roll out of bed a half hour before 9, and usually get to work a little bit before then

Man, I wish I could get to work before I roll out of bed in the monring.

Sorry; just couldn't resist.
posted by TedW at 11:31 AM on November 18, 2002


i'm just waiting for the segway jams on the sidewalk. can you imagine a bunch of cranky, worn-out morning commuters: legs turned to jelly from standing, fretting over ever-decreasing charges and yet...still....2....miles....from.......work.

it'll be a neo-futuristic spartacus experience, but with aluminum commuter mugs and briefcases instead of swords and shields.

scary, eh kids?
posted by raygun21 at 11:31 AM on November 18, 2002


bradth27

All transportation mechanisms have pluses and minuses. Segway's pluses are that it doesn't pollute (locally), does not require the user to physically exert themselves to use, does not require the user to balance themselves, and is easily manuervable in close confines. Your electric scooter example fails two of these categories.

If you live within four miles of work, WALK TO WORK

I agree with walking when possible. Obviously many city dwellers do not as can be seen by the large number of cabs in many cities. People have a desire for some sort of powered mobility in cities. In many cases it does not have to be an internal combustion car.

Also, some simple math. Average human walking speed is between 3-5 miles per hour. A 4 mile distance will take about and hour of walking to cover.
posted by jsonic at 11:41 AM on November 18, 2002


One interesting aspect - there's sort of an inherent safety valve in Segway - owners can't gain too much weight, or they'll be out of a ride: "The rider's weight must not exceed 250 pounds...".
posted by kokogiak at 11:44 AM on November 18, 2002


The other day I was in a coffee shop and a fellow came in riding one of these. He opened the shop door without getting off and glided right up to the counter. He said he knew John Doerr and met Dean Kamen and begged them for a few advance units.

I think this illustrates the niche for this vehicle: it is intended to operate in pedestrian areas, and in areas that would not be suitable for a bike. It is not terribly suitable for the street, in contrast to the electric scooter.

So it is most plausibly useful for someone who has to do a lot of work on foot, possibly indoors and out, like a letter carrier or some types of warehouse workers.
posted by Isamu Noguchi at 11:51 AM on November 18, 2002


Amazon is becoming the Wal Mart of online stores....

Well, actually, that's been Amazon's business plan all along, so I guess Mr. Bezos would be glad to hear he's making progress!
posted by spilon at 12:11 PM on November 18, 2002


Segway's pluses are that it doesn't pollute (locally)

Neither do all the other practical (i.e. non-Segway) methods of simple transportation-biking, walking, skateboarding, scooter, roller-blades/skates.

does not require the user to physically exert themselves to use

Because Americans just get too much damn exercise already. Now if only someone will invent a machine that chews my food for me.

does not require the user to balance themselves

Yes, it takes years of discipline and preparation and a whole lot of rare inborn talent to grasp this wholly elusive skill.

people have a desire for some sort of powered mobility in cities. In many cases it does not have to be an internal combustion car.

C'mon, Jsonic, most people aren't using cars just because they want 'powered mobility'. I gave you some good reasons why people prefer cars in the other version of this thread.
Segway will barely become an important fad, much less a revolution in transportation.
posted by dgaicun at 12:23 PM on November 18, 2002


Because Americans just get too much damn exercise already

I assume most people don't want to show up for work all sweaty and smelly. Maybe your job is different.

Yes, it takes years of discipline and preparation and a whole lot of rare inborn talent to grasp this wholly elusive skill

You've never wrecked your bike? Even at slow speeds when balancing is much more important? Wouldn't it be nice to not have to worry about balancing?

Segway will barely become an important fad, much less a revolution in transportation

I never said it would. I've just repsonded to people who want to denounce it to make themselves feel better.
posted by jsonic at 12:43 PM on November 18, 2002


It's unfair to declaim the Segway's critics for not first experiencing it first-hand. How does that do away with questions regarding its practicality on crowded sidewalks, its weight, its limited cargo capacity, its cost, its low speed, or its security issues (as in, I don't know where, besides the street, that I could store it at work)? The only thing such an argument refutes is criticism over whether or not it's fun to ride. Which it may be - but frankly, fun is not enough to get me to blow $550.
posted by risenc at 12:45 PM on November 18, 2002


Amazon has long wanted to be thought of as the next Wal-Mart. Not to mention their talks of actually partnering online.

It's clear the Segway isn't some sort of killer app, a vehicle that everyone has to have. But it probably has a number of yet undiscovered niche applications as well as the ones already discussed -- urban delivery, warehouse teamstering, security patrols. At $5K, it's clearly not an impulse buy. Why do we need to discuss it as a failure at being something it's not? Sure, we can go back and yell at the hype -- someday cities will be built around them -- but that's clearly in the future, when the technology is adapted to other configurations. With seats. With cargo. With roofs. Me, I'm still in a wait-and-see mode. The self-balancing act alone is still probably going to be revolutionary.

And yes, this will be the first retail release. So far sales have been limited to demonstration projects such as the noted police departments.
posted by dhartung at 1:14 PM on November 18, 2002


Yes, it takes years of discipline and preparation and a whole lot of rare inborn talent to grasp this wholly elusive skill

You've never wrecked your bike? Even at slow speeds when balancing is much more important? Wouldn't it be nice to not have to worry about balancing?


Who said I could ride a bike?
posted by dgaicun at 1:29 PM on November 18, 2002


arg... I read that as being able to buy new tent condoms.
posted by blogRot at 1:38 PM on November 18, 2002


Who said I could ride a bike?

You mentioned that balancing was non-trivial, so I used the example of a slow moving bike to discuss. And if you've never ridden a bike before then a product which handles balancing for you would be even more useful.
posted by jsonic at 1:48 PM on November 18, 2002


errr ... change non-trivial to trivial.
posted by jsonic at 1:48 PM on November 18, 2002


It's unfair to declaim the Segway's critics for not first experiencing it first-hand. How does that do away with questions regarding its practicality on crowded sidewalks, its weight, its limited cargo capacity, its cost, its low speed, or its security issues (as in, I don't know where, besides the street, that I could store it at work)? [...]

It's completely fair. I try not to criticize anything in this world that I don't have any direct knowledge of. Especially some sort of brand new technology or device which is often hard to put into words...

Crowded sidewalks? Depends where you live. There are many more cities without crowded sidewalks (especially in the U.S.) than those with. And it can go different speeds, depending upon the traffic. Your car has a top speed of 110 MPH or more, but that doesn't mean you regularly travel that speed anywhere.

Weight? Well, that's a plus if you want something sturdy, durable, and will last more than a year or two.

Cargo capacity? They'll sell front-bags for this model. The e Series has quite a bit of cargo capacity (but is not being offered in this sale).

Cost? Umm, yes, that's always an issue with new, cutting edge technologies. I can't really speak to that.

Low speed? It's not meant to compete with cars. It was not designed from the ground-up to be some sort of speed buggy, but an alternative to cars or walking for those in-between trips or short commutes.

Security issues? It's got a key, like your moped or car or bike. You use it to turn it on; without the key, it can't be turned on. I'd like to see the first person who tries to steal one and discovers they just stole 80 lbs of useless technology without the key. Plus you can always physically lock it just like a bike or moped to any stationary object.
posted by docjohn at 1:50 PM on November 18, 2002


All transportation mechanisms have pluses and minuses. Segway's pluses are that it doesn't pollute (locally), does not require the user to physically exert themselves to use, does not require the user to balance themselves, and is easily manuervable in close confines. Your electric scooter example fails two of these categories.

First of all, as far as I can tell, the two categories that scooters (electric) fail in are- "does not require the user to balance themselves", "and easily manuervable in close confines."

The first category I don't even want to talk about, it's so funny. Yeah, so it stands on it's own. The scooter has a kickstand. $3.95 option, probably. And when you come to a stop, PUT YOUR FEET DOWN. I know, this is where some people really screw up when riding a bicycle or motorcycle. I've seen it a million times... guy pulls to a stop, and slowly falls to the left. terrible thing to happen, really.

As for close confines, where would you need the extra couple of feet of clearance forward provided by this machine? Good Lord, man, if you get to work, park the damn thing. There's plenty of room out there for everyone. Are you talking about taking this thing in the workplace with you? On the elevator, or something? Are you really bad at parallel parking?


Wouldn't it be nice to not have to worry about balancing?


Jesus, I want that on a t-shirt.
posted by bradth27 at 1:58 PM on November 18, 2002


docjohn: While all your answers are valid, how are my questions any less legit because I have never ridden a Segway? Few pundits have ever been president; does that make their criticisms of Bush illegitimate? Most anti-war protesters are too young to have been in a war - do they therefore have no right to comment on it? None of your answers require particular knowledge of the Segway-riding experience, either - they're just the well-informed, other side of the equation. (My questions were just meant to be illustrative of what other people have said and responded to above, btw.)
posted by risenc at 2:06 PM on November 18, 2002


bradth27

Yeah, so it stands on it's own. The scooter has a kickstand. $3.95 option, probably

Uhh, you missed the point entirely. Segway balances for you, even when you are moving.

As for close confines, where would you need the extra couple of feet of clearance

Again, you missed the point entirely. Segway can turn completely around within its own width. Just like a human. Try turning a bike and you either have to do a 3 point turn, or get off the bike, pick it up, and turn it around. Now, if people are around you, you have to make them move to turn around. Segway does not have that problem.
posted by jsonic at 2:08 PM on November 18, 2002


Your questions are not illegitimate, nor are your opinions, just because you haven't ridden. But I do think there's something to be said for the ease of criticism versus the hardship in actually doing something (or trying to), and then discussing the experience. The more experience one has within an area, the more legitimacy they have (in most people's eyes, anyway).
posted by docjohn at 2:20 PM on November 18, 2002


Docjohn: In that case, no one on this board, even those who have test-driven the thing, have much ground to stand on, since no one has used it on a regular basis to commute back and forth to work.
posted by risenc at 2:27 PM on November 18, 2002


No, jsonic, I didn't miss the point entirely. It's just that your arguments were not backed up with an explanation, leaving me to guess what you meant by it.
first of all, if you're that worried about "the problem of having to balance," get this. Hey! It's electric too! And you don't have to worry about that that whole balance thing, which throws so many people off, gravity being what it is.

And as for turning radius, I think you are referring to this thing being used on the sidewalk. I don't think this thing belongs there. If you want to use it as transportation, put it on the road. There are people walking on that sidewalk, and a couple of your silly balancing machines are really going to clog it up. 12.5 miles an hour may be slow, but on a sidewalk, it could be dangerous to other pedestrians. A sidewalk full of spinning, turning, and twisting 12.5 mile an hour balancing machines would be very dangerous. If you turn this thing around on a crowded sidewalk, chances are someone is behind you anyway, so your arguement about people not having to get out of the way is out of the ballpark.
posted by bradth27 at 2:28 PM on November 18, 2002


Ok, I get the point. No amount of logic will make you not hate segway.
posted by jsonic at 2:33 PM on November 18, 2002


Horseless carriages?? Bah! Anything requiring people to change will never catch on. My horse waits wherever I put it and survives on nothing but oats and sugar. Where can you find this "gasoline" crap, anyway?

Helicopters? Surfboards? Roller-blades? Longboards? Unicycles? Monorails? High speed trains? Go-carts? Wheel-chairs that climb stairs? Hybrid Civics? These vehicles are fads, and I seriously doubt that they'll find much of a place in our culture. People like things the way they are.

I'm being a sarcastic, satirical prick here, but can't we just be excited about this technology? I hope that it evolves, becomes less expensive, and finds a place for itself in the world. The Segway is remarkable, and it looks fun as hell. If you want to get mad at something, why not talk trash about the the Homeland Security bill, or DeBeers, for cornering the diamond market and running annoying ads begging you to buy your wife three diamonds in celebration of your son's first birthday. Only three months Salary!!!

The existence of the Segway is not making your life worse. But the existence of SUVs on the 405 is certainly making my life worse. I may not be able to take a Segway from the valley to Santa Monica, but I'm damn glad that *someone* is brainstorming new ideas for transportation. NEW ideas. Innovation is optimism. The thing fucking *stands up* on two wheels, for god's sake! As jsonic said, it turns around... in place! That is INCREDIBLE, even if I can't afford one.

I doesn't bother me if people don't share my excitement. But why take offense? Is its existence really a step in the wrong direction?
posted by sixfoot6 at 2:42 PM on November 18, 2002


tolkhan:
Gilligan
The Professor
The Skipper, too.
But they seem to be sold out of Ginger...
posted by whatzit at 2:47 PM on November 18, 2002


Ok, I get the point. No amount of logic will make you not hate segway.

Ok, I get the point. No amount of logic will make you not like the segway.
posted by bradth27 at 2:52 PM on November 18, 2002


I can envision a variation of the Segway being useful as a wheelchair substitute, with some sort of harness to keep the handicapped person at "normal" eye level , allowing better access to all those things, taken for granted by the rest of us. I think the balancing mechanism in the Segway would be up to the job. But as a practical commuting vehicle, I'd rather bike or walk for the range it has. And I'm sure I'd be just as annoyed at a Segway, as I am when a bike, scooter or even speeding electric wheelchair skims past me on the sidewalk. It belongs in the bike lanes that we don't really have here in NYC.
posted by gametone at 2:52 PM on November 18, 2002


gametone: That's exactly what Kamen invented three years ago, though it didn't create a big enough splash.
posted by sixfoot6 at 3:09 PM on November 18, 2002


Man #1: I have a brilliant new invention that will change the way people eat forever.

Man #2: What is it?!

Man #1: Well, I wasn't going to reveal it until March 8th, 2003, but since you asked, I've invented tiny, artificially-intelligent robots that will collect the food off your plate, jet propel themselves up into your mouth and deposit it there for you to chew.

Man #2: ...

Man #1: ...well?

Man#2: ...Isn't that what spoons are for?

Man #1: Don't be so cranky and pessimistic, there are many niches to be filled in the ways people can eat. Chopsticks are one way, sporks are another, and tiny $40,000 artificially-aware eating drones are yet another.

Man #2: but you can do the same damn thing with a spoon!

Man#1: that's not true. Nano-eat-bots free the hands for work and leisure. Obviously, you're not a very busy person, but some of us don't have the time or energy to waste shoving food in our faces.

Man #1: 40,000 %*%@* dollars!

Man #2: Alright, I get it. No amount of logic will stop you from hating tiny robots that feed you. They said the refrigerator was a stupid idea too. But some of us are just too advanced to bury our salted meats in the perma-frost.


posted by dgaicun at 3:12 PM on November 18, 2002


After checking out the electric scooter link, I think I found what all of us really need. (Warning, small MPEG video). Way more than 2 wheels, goes faster than the segway (15 mph!) and less likely to get you laughed at. More info here

Well, Ok, just as likely.
posted by daver at 3:14 PM on November 18, 2002


Pretty cool sixfoot6, looks like that chair pretty much does what I was thinking, but it takes up more space than a standing person or a Segway would. And that price is sky high. But I admire Kamen's creativity. I hope his Stirling engine works out.
posted by gametone at 3:20 PM on November 18, 2002


So, wait -- this "Segway," it vibrates?

( . . . My goal, really, is to eventually collapse all of MeFi into one superdense in-joke meme, from which not even light can escape.)
posted by webmutant at 3:36 PM on November 18, 2002


Also any device that requires people to change in order for it to be used will not be successful.

...typed Moneyman... at his computer.
posted by mikewas at 5:08 PM on November 18, 2002


mikewas: perhaps moneyman has a Mac (as do I)
posted by TedW at 5:37 PM on November 18, 2002


Yes, it's an expensive toy. But that doesn't stop it being cool. If I were obscenely rich, I'd buy one.

Saw my first Segway up close and personal today -- bumped into Dean Kamen hisself and a couple demonstration models. Couldn't cadge a ride though, more's the pity.
posted by Vidiot at 7:14 PM on November 18, 2002


I mean, this thing is kinda cool. But $5,000 cool? I think it will be largely a status symbol, little else. My $100 bike does the same thing for me, except I have to balance, which isn't really a big deal.
posted by statusquo at 7:46 PM on November 18, 2002


Your questions are not illegitimate, nor are your opinions, just because you haven't ridden. But I do think there's something to be said for the ease of criticism versus the hardship in actually doing something (or trying to), and then discussing the experience. The more experience one has within an area, the more legitimacy they have (in most people's eyes, anyway).

Well, I have not ridden a Segway but I have used just about every other form of urban transportation including bicycles, busses, feet, and light rail. I suspect that this gives me enough experience to comment on the problems of getting around urban environments.

My basic conclusion is that at $5,000 that this is a product which is really stretching for a market. Electric assist bicycles have better range and better compatability with existing traffic patterns. Electric wheelchairs and large scooters seem to do well for people with mobility problems and industrial settings at about half of the cost. Balance is not an issue for most people. So I think that skepticism is warranted.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:55 AM on November 19, 2002


Average human walking speed is between 3-5 miles per hour. A 4 mile distance will take about and hour of walking to cover.

Huh. I don't know where you got those figures from. I walk. I walk every day, on the treadmill and in the city, and at the weekends I hike in the forest. My speed for a good brisk walk is 3 miles an hour. My normal stroll is about 2.6 miles an hour. At 4 miles an hour I have to break into a jog and I am definitely running at 5 mph.

Now, about that whole Ginger Thing....I don't know what it is like in New York City, but many places in Southern California ban bikes, skateboards, and roller skates from the sidewalks. Here in Raleigh we have extensive Greenways but, again, bikes are usually prohibited. Seems like some major re-tooling of cities is going to be required for the Segway to be useful in most areas.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:15 AM on November 19, 2002


I was an unpopular kid. One year I got a cool bike and I thought it would make me popular with the other kids. I owned that bike for an hour before it was stolen from me by the neighborhood bullies, and I was too ashamed to tell anyone.

Sure, it's an embarrassing story, but why the hell would I spend $4500 on a Segway and repeat the experience as an adult? Any thug who doesn't steal this and assault its owner should lose his beat-down license.
posted by basilwhite at 10:27 AM on November 19, 2002


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