The Segway: Turns 10 and still kicking

stratosphere networksThe name Segway is synonymous with tech failure. After all, inventor Dean Kamen once believed that his two-wheeled scooters would become a substitute for cars. He pictured a future where people buzzed to the supermarket, library, or work on their Segway PT scooters.

That vision hasn’t quite come to fruition and it’s pretty rare that you see someone utilizing a Segway. They’re still around and have recently celebrated their 10th anniversary. So while they might be known as a tech failure, they are still alive and kicking.

Let’s discuss how the Segway actually works though.

Powering the Segway

The Segway PT is powered by electric motors.  Those motors are fueled by a group of lithium-ion batteries that are easily charged by a common household electrical socket. Five gyroscopic sensors, two tilt sensors, and two computers with specialty software keep the Segway from tipping over.

Making the Segway Move

The user plays the biggest role in making the Segway move. By simply shifting your weight in the direction you wish to go and moving the handlebars slightly, the Segway’s sensors identify the modification in balance point and react appropriately. The most recent version of the Segway has a top speed of 12.5 MPH. For obvious reason, it performs best on flat surfaces.

Lowered Expectations

The hype was pretty big around the Segway when it was first announced, but it never quite lived up to it all.  Some even predicted that the Segway would become more popular than the Internet overall!

However, once the Segway was released many thought it looked odd and you looked weird riding one. Others thought it looked unsafe. Regardless, the downsides were enough to prevent the Segway from reaching its stated potential.

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