The Centaur
January 24, 2005 10:29 AM   Subscribe

The Centaur Three years after its Human Transporter was supposed to change the world, Dean Kamen's innovation factory unveils a successor that just wants to have fun.
posted by Shanachie (18 comments total)
Fire. Check.
Writing. Check.
Digital Encoding. Check.
Segway/Centaur. Negative on that.
posted by Captaintripps at 10:33 AM on January 24, 2005

That first link is an INCREDIBLE, and undeniably legitimate action shot. No doubt about it.
posted by santiagogo at 10:34 AM on January 24, 2005

You know... When that jammie came out and everyone said "oh come on... THAT'S going to revolutionize human transportation?" they were right and the Segway dude was wrong, the Segway was just a device to further islolate yourself as a dork, like a really expensive razor scooter or a unicycle.

BUT... the idea that vehicles of the future will be more concerned with computation for balance, fuel/energy consumption and reaction to the riders input is not wrong.
In reading that article I got a smell of why something like the Segway is going to revolutionize something or other... Because it is heading in the direction of "riding on computation" to paraphrase Bruce Sterling in Heavy Weather.

Still dorky though.
posted by Divine_Wino at 11:03 AM on January 24, 2005

The Segway seems to have found a niche among airport cops. I suppose it makes sense; clean, quiet way of getting around that puts you up above the crowd. Like a bicycle, but lots more expensive.
posted by electroboy at 11:42 AM on January 24, 2005

Looking at those mugshots with their "words to build by" I wanted to yell out, "Duuuuudes! He's just making fuuuuun of yooooooouuu!"
posted by breath at 11:56 AM on January 24, 2005

I don't know, this looks like fun. Yes, it's goofy looking but you could totally piss off some serious ATV'ers with it. Popping wheelies and then spinning 360's in place? That's kind of cool.

Anybody have any idea how fast it can go? They always seem to fail to mention those pesky details. Because if they can make it go 45 miles an hour, I'll buy one.
posted by fenriq at 12:03 PM on January 24, 2005

Great. Another excuse for government land agents to close trails.
posted by bonehead at 1:20 PM on January 24, 2005

Too dorky for hardcore mountain bikers, too radical for Niles Crane, I can't see this being any more popular than the two-wheeler.
posted by tommasz at 1:25 PM on January 24, 2005

I wonder if it would ever be road legal ...
posted by kaemaril at 1:33 PM on January 24, 2005

I still think these things are best as medical aids, like LaForge's glasses on STNG, got bad knees or hips, get one of these mofo's. Then again, they'd be competing against the Rascal, whose grand mahoff model is a paltry $2,500ish.

So then again, maybe they are just toys.

I remember the first time some chick "glided" into a fedex office where I was waiting in-line. All I could think of was "Something wrong with your mf'in' feet??"
posted by asparagus_berlin at 1:37 PM on January 24, 2005

Kind of low ground clearance on the rear axle. Why are all demo shots on an unnaturally smooth grass hill?
posted by doctor_negative at 1:57 PM on January 24, 2005

They're like, totally gonna build bike trails around this.
posted by sourwookie at 3:36 PM on January 24, 2005

I can see the catchphrase now:

"Like a quad... for pussies!"
- Centaur, by Segway

I can also see a Polaris/Honda/Yamaha/etc... ad campaign:

Picture of a Centaur, with a Quad "mounting" it (quad on rear wheels, front wheels on Centaur)
Caption: "Who's your daddy?!"

/juvenile humor moment :-)
posted by C.Batt at 3:39 PM on January 24, 2005

I met that Kamen guy at an AIGA conference in 2003. What a new age snake-oil peddler. I couldn't take his constant pitching so I interrupted him and I asked him, uses for handicapped people aside, if another expensive toy that makes Americans even fatter was such a good idea.

You know what he said? He said that it would "free them up to have more time at the gym."

I hope he was kidding.
posted by tkchrist at 4:37 PM on January 24, 2005

Kamen's one product that could matter - the stirling cycle engne .... he's not making 'em.
posted by rough ashlar at 9:43 PM on January 24, 2005

Anyone else expecting this to be a link to Buck 65's new release?
posted by boost ventilator at 5:43 AM on January 25, 2005

I got to ride on one of these after a talk one of his reps gave at my school last year. Yes, it's fun to ride on, more than you think it will be maybe, but hardly something to change the world. Just like any other type of transportation, it has it's limits and these were just another thing to pass by as a 'craze' - this one for the technogeeks. They really aren't anything more than an expensive upright Vespa, only they can't carry as much with you and they are probably easier to steal too.
posted by meg6212 at 10:59 AM on January 25, 2005

Finally, a Segway product I can kill myself with. For the cooler dork in all of us.
posted by nanojath at 8:16 PM on February 23, 2005

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