What do you think of when you hear the name Segway? If you’re like many around, “tech failure” comes to mind. Dean Kamen’s creation of the Segway PT scooter was supposed to reinvent personal transportation. The Segway was supposed to usher in a new era of errand running and puttering around town.
That vision hasn’t quite come to fruition and it’s pretty infrequent that you see someone using a Segway. They are still around and have recently celebrated their 10th anniversary. So while they may be known as a tech failure, they’re 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 number of lithium-ion batteries that are easily charged by a standard household electrical socket. Five gyroscopic sensors, two tilt sensors, and two computers with specialty software keep the Segway from falling 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 intend to go and moving the handlebars slightly, the Segway’s sensors acknowledge the change in balance point and react appropriately. The most recent version of the Segway features a top speed of 12.5 MPH. For obvious reason, it performs best on flat surfaces.
The buzz was pretty big around the Segway when it was initially announced, but it never quite lived up to it all. Some even predicted that the Segway would be 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 negatives were enough to prevent the Segway from reaching its promised potential.