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Segway killer
August 1, 2008 6:46 PM   Subscribe

Toyota has a "Segway killer" called the Winglet (still being refined) including a hands-free version steered with the knees. Test riders say its fun, but Toyota has not decided to commercialize it yet (ie. no price info). Segway owners weigh in.
posted by stbalbach (49 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
I wonder how long it will be until someone gets on a turbocharged hands-free one and gets in a half pipe.
posted by mullingitover at 7:00 PM on August 1, 2008


Man I was hoping the Segway Killer was going to be some little remote device you could carry in your pocket and whenever you were in the vicinity of a Segway you could push a button that would cause the brakes to seize up.

Segway killer
Quest que cest
Fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa far better
Run run run run run run run away
Oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh...
posted by Sailormom at 7:05 PM on August 1, 2008 [15 favorites]


I would gladly pay to see a movie about the Segway Killer, especially if a gruff but loveable Captain Tasker (Sam Elliot) has the assigned the oddball partners of by-the-book near-retiree John Walters (Tommy Lee Jones) and the manic Troy "Spitball" Jalowsky (John Turturro) to bring him down.
posted by Shepherd at 7:06 PM on August 1, 2008 [6 favorites]


At 6km an hour (3.75 miles an hour) it's no wonder it hasn't been commercialized yet. The segway tops out at 20km/h (12.5 mph).
posted by furtive at 7:10 PM on August 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Boy I can't wait to see that massive Segway market split in two. How many healthy people are there who need wheelchairs?
posted by Nelson at 7:17 PM on August 1, 2008


Doesn't it have to be alive before something can kill it?

Of course, with strange eons even death may die.
posted by sonic meat machine at 7:17 PM on August 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


The Segway killer? An electric scooter.
It is faster, much much cheaper, and safer.
The Segway is really just a rich man's toy.

Also, I've seen Segway tour guides (you've heard of Segway tours?) who can drive the things with just their knees.
posted by eye of newt at 7:19 PM on August 1, 2008


It fails the 'Would Gob Bluth look more ridiculous on it, or less?' test.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:20 PM on August 1, 2008 [3 favorites]


It also weighs twenty pounds, vs what, a hundred or so for a Segway?
posted by fixedgear at 7:25 PM on August 1, 2008


Ahh, Gob Bluth. Good times.

Also: At 6 MPH and a 1-hour charge, I can easily outrun this thing should it turn predatory.
posted by Mister_A at 7:25 PM on August 1, 2008 [3 favorites]


::bikes on through::
posted by Sam.Burdick at 7:25 PM on August 1, 2008


i thought maybe the segway killer would be like, um. self esteem or something.
posted by fuzzypantalones at 7:34 PM on August 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Mister_A, the top speed is just 6 kilometers an hour (about 3.5 mph). Save outrunning for another time; you can out-leisurely-stroll this thing.
posted by barnacles at 7:36 PM on August 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


The segway-killed was invented over a hundred years before it. It was called the bicycle.
posted by Mitrovarr at 7:41 PM on August 1, 2008 [6 favorites]


Snark if you will. If you played with one of these for two goddamn minutes, you would be grinning hard enough to split your goddamn face, because playing with something like this would be FUN. In a nutshell? Be jaded internet people if you like. Me? Want. Want hard.
posted by middleclasstool at 8:11 PM on August 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Those Segway owners are a strange bunch, aren't they? They seem to be hating on this because it only goes 3 miles an hour, as opposed to their Segway's blistering 12 miles per hour.

I mean, if you want speed, why wouldn't you just buy a motor scooter? A little Chinese 50 cc two stroke would cost about the fifth of a Segway, move around five times faster and let you carry a passenger on the back seat.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 8:23 PM on August 1, 2008


I used to have one of these, but I called it a skateboard.
posted by optovox at 8:31 PM on August 1, 2008


When they can fly, call me.
posted by netbros at 8:36 PM on August 1, 2008


middleclasstool: Snark if you will. If you played with one of these for two goddamn minutes, you would be grinning hard enough to split your goddamn face, because playing with something like this would be FUN. In a nutshell? Be jaded internet people if you like. Me? Want. Want hard.

Do you really think this would be more fun than, say, a dirt bike or a snowmobile? As a power toy, it'd have to compete with other power toys and I don't know how well it'd do in the comparison.
posted by Mitrovarr at 8:59 PM on August 1, 2008


Do you really think this would be more fun than, say, a dirt bike or a snowmobile?

Not necessarily. Just fun enough that lazy internet sarcasm would dissolve in less than a second. Until you (not you personally, just the nonspecific you) wrote up the experience in your blog later. Then there'd be plenty of time to let the snark reserves build back up.
posted by middleclasstool at 9:17 PM on August 1, 2008


I fulfilled a longstanding wish by riding a Segway for several minutes at the Calgary Stampede. They were touting how cheap it was compared to the price of gas. I started thinking that maybe I'd want to own one of these too, I mean, for two grand it would pay for itself after two years. So I popped the inevitable question to the sales rep: "How much does it cost?" The answer? "Six thousand." Pfft, I can buy a scooter, a bike and a car for that much and still have change for a car, a scooter and a bike.
posted by furtive at 9:29 PM on August 1, 2008


middleclasstool: Not necessarily. Just fun enough that lazy internet sarcasm would dissolve in less than a second. Until you (not you personally, just the nonspecific you) wrote up the experience in your blog later. Then there'd be plenty of time to let the snark reserves build back up.

I'm not contesting that it would be fun, but the fun/money ratio would suck. You'd be better off just buying fireworks or something. The fun would just be the novelty associated with any new vehicle.
posted by Mitrovarr at 9:42 PM on August 1, 2008


You can't kill something that was never really alive.
posted by sebas at 10:46 PM on August 1, 2008


Metafilter = Lazy internet sarcasm.
posted by Miastar at 11:04 PM on August 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


I don't get how it would be worth it to try to steal Segway marketshare, anyway.
posted by dunkadunc at 11:54 PM on August 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm going to hate it when these things finally take off and no one walks anywhere anymore. And this shit will come, because people are too lazy to walk and are just waiting for a way to avoid it.

People will drive to the mall or work or wherever they're going, unload these things (or rent them at their destinations), and then roll around until it's time to drive home. Toyota and competitors will market vehicles made to carry a couple of them under the hatch in the back, and they'll make faster versions for "people in a hurry" (everyone), fat-wheeled off-road versions for destroying natural areas, amphibious versions for fishing and "walks" on the beach, semi-enclosed versions for winter excursions, sport versions that can keep up with the cars, and hardened versions for police and soldiers (with shields they can duck behind).

Sidewalks that used to be good for walking will be crowded with these things instead. Shoes will be made for people standing or sitting. There will be just a skinny little "Emergency Walking Lane" for people whose wheeled transportation has failed.

And there will be my lawn.
posted by pracowity at 12:59 AM on August 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


Who in the hell uses Sedgeways anyway? I live in London which I'm constantly told is a reasonably au courant-bleeding edge-of-now type place and I have never, ever seen one in the wild. Not even in the really wanky bits of Shoreditch.
posted by rhymer at 1:21 AM on August 2, 2008


Who in the hell uses Sedgeways anyway? I live in London...

According to this site (is it up to date?):
The Highway Act of 1835 renders the Segway PT illegal in the UK, everywhere other than on private property (and only with the owner's permission).
posted by pracowity at 1:31 AM on August 2, 2008


This is going to change everything!
posted by clearly at 1:48 AM on August 2, 2008


I was thinking about the Segway and how it's cool to crap all over it. Then I thought about jet packs, and I'm sure most people here would probably blow a gasket to pay 5 G's for one. Then I thought about how every single argument against the Segway could be applied to jet packs. Then it dawns on me, just how ridiculous these arguments are.
posted by P.o.B. at 2:25 AM on August 2, 2008


Let's have a look at claim 1 of US patent 5,971,091 (aka "the Winglet killer") issued to one Dean Kamen:

A vehicle, for transporting a human subject over a surface that may be irregular, the vehicle comprising:
(a) a support for supporting the subject, the support having left and right sides and defining fore-aft and lateral planes;
(b) a ground-contacting module, including a pair of ground-contacting members, laterally disposed with respect to one another, movably attached to the support, for suspending the subject in the support over the surface, the support and the ground-contacting module being components of an assembly;
(c) a motorized drive arrangement, mounted to the assembly for causing locomotion of the assembly and the subject over the surface; and
(d) a control loop, in which the motorized drive is included, for dynamically maintaining stability in the fore-aft plane by operation of the motorized drive arrangement so that the net torque experienced by the assembly about the point of contact with the surface, taking into account torques caused by gravity as well as by all other external forces and by the motorized drive, causes a desired acceleration and sustained locomotion of the assembly, such stability being maintained even while the assembly experiences varying forces and accelerations;
wherein the control loop is configured so that fore and aft sustained motion of the vehicle is controlled by fore and aft leaning of the vehicle caused by the subject, and in maintaining stability in the fore-aft plane the control loop does not cancel out such leaning under normal conditions of locomotion.


Forget range or speed, I guess that the rather limited market of the Segway just isn't worth the patent infringement lawsuit for Toyota.
posted by Skeptic at 2:46 AM on August 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


The Highway Act of 1835 renders the Segway PT illegal in the UK, everywhere other than on private property (and only with the owner's permission).

Well that never stopped the guy in a suit I used to see trundling down Shaftesbury Avenue most days.
posted by influx at 3:04 AM on August 2, 2008


I'm going to hate it when these things finally take off and no one walks anywhere anymore. And this shit will come, because people are too lazy to walk and are just waiting for a way to avoid it.

Ultimately turning into....
posted by Grangousier at 3:58 AM on August 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


1. are we so lazy that we can't even be bothered to, you know like, "walk" somewhere now?

According to wikipedia the average walking speed is 4-5 km/h. this goes at 6km/h. There is already an obesity epidemic.


and 2. 'segway killer'? what the fuck? I thought the segway had already commited suicied?
posted by mary8nne at 4:36 AM on August 2, 2008


Mr. McGuire: I want to say one word to you. Just one word.
Metafilter: Yes, sir.
Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?
Metafilter: Yes, I am.
Mr. McGuire: HoverBoard
Metafilter: Just how do you mean that, sir?
posted by HuronBob at 4:51 AM on August 2, 2008


Personally, I think Segways are a complete waste of time. That said, I find it interesting that the argument for outlawing their use in Japan disappears once a Japanese company makes a copy.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:51 AM on August 2, 2008


middleclasstool: "Snark if you will. If you played with one of these for two goddamn minutes, you would be grinning hard enough to split your goddamn face, because playing with something like this would be FUN. In a nutshell? Be jaded internet people if you like. Me? Want. Want hard."

Totally agree. It's really funny how emotitional people get about these devices. I suspect there is a fear that "everyone" will do it, thus forcing ME to get one, and I don't have 6 grand, so lets socially ostracize it early in the bud as a "lazy rich mans toy". My prediction? These devices with time will become more and more diverse, cheaper, and popular. In particular a 20 pound portable! Wow, that is really amazing.
posted by stbalbach at 6:44 AM on August 2, 2008


Then I thought about how every single argument against the Segway could be applied to jet packs. Then it dawns on me, just how ridiculous these arguments are.

Exactly, not only jetpacks, but cars. How many car trips are made each day that could be made in a Segway instead? Say, under 7 miles round-trip.

Anti-Segway arguments applied to under 7 mile car trips:
1. Car people are too lazy to stand up, they have to "sit down" in plush chairs for that 10 minutes of traveling.
2. Car people spend way too much money, some cars cost 30 grand or more, it makes a Segway look like a bargain.
3. Car people spend $1.50 or more in gasoline to go 7 miles, Segways it's next to nothing.

Society would benefit if more people stopped driving, and whatever alternative transport: walk, bike, Segway, Winglet .. who cares, it's all good.
posted by stbalbach at 7:50 AM on August 2, 2008


Well that never stopped the guy in a suit I used to see trundling down Shaftesbury Avenue most days.

Yeah, I've glimpsed them in the wild a couple of times, so they do exist.
posted by cillit bang at 7:55 AM on August 2, 2008


More like a long, protracted transition.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 8:25 AM on August 2, 2008


At 3.5 mph max, it seems to eliminate the one positive trait that the Segway had. Namely, being able to transport me effortlessly faster than I could (relatively) effortlessly walk.

I mean, how many folks would ride a bike if bikes only had a maximum 3.5 mph?
posted by darkstar at 1:30 PM on August 2, 2008


pracowity: And this shit will come, because people are too lazy to walk...

There are several billion people in the world who will continue to walk or (if they're really fortunate) bike almost everywhere they go.

(Show me a Jetsons world, and I'll wonder who feeds it... )
posted by lodurr at 1:30 PM on August 2, 2008


Yeah, sure, in poorer countries people will walk, but in the US, to take the most obvious example, people will not.

I only hope these things will have spokes I can put sticks into. Or maybe there will be a way to electronically jam their sense of balance long enough to put them horizontal.
posted by pracowity at 1:50 PM on August 2, 2008


I only hope these things will have spokes I can put sticks into. Or maybe there will be a way to electronically jam their sense of balance long enough to put them horizontal.

Ohhh me too, I can't wait! I hope someone creates a small portable EMF Generator that I can use on people with pacemakers!!! Let the lulz ensue!
posted by P.o.B. at 2:12 PM on August 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Indeed, then I can finally take out all those annoying iPhones around me as well...
posted by docjohn at 3:56 PM on August 2, 2008


Indeed, then I can finally take out all those annoying iPhones around me as well...

Portable cell phone jammers exist, however they are sadly illegal to operate or import in the US, and illegal to operate in most other places. That hasn't stopped me from frequently contemplating the purchase of one, however.
posted by DecemberBoy at 7:47 PM on August 2, 2008


That hasn't stopped me from frequently contemplating the purchase of one, however.

You can build them.
posted by pracowity at 3:31 AM on August 3, 2008


Funny, I had wondered if these were being steered with the knees.
posted by availablelight at 4:08 AM on August 3, 2008


Winglet? Doesn't Applebee's sell those?
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:29 PM on August 4, 2008


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