Five Years Of Segway

It has been called "The Invention That Runs On Hype". But the Segway may well play a role in the future of transportation and our cities.

"In predicting the future of technology, the hardest part might not be envisioning what can be invented, but determining what will be needed. There's an awful lot of amazing technology in the personal transporter, which is powered by computer-controlled electric motors that automatically keep the machine in balance in response to bumps in the road and the rider's movements. Still, when it comes to clean, inexpensive, one-person transportation, for many people a bike does just fine. Disabled users swear by the Segway, and police departments have adopted it, but that doesn't make the personal transporter the game changer Kamen imagined. Thousands have sold, but not nearly as many as Segway hoped for.

Writing off Segway, however, would be a big mistake. After all the hype and counterhype, there's still time for a very different second act. Kamen's vision of Segway was focused on the two-wheeled personal transporter. But James D. Norrod, the chief executive recruited a year and a half ago by Doerr, is pushing the company toward a much more expansive view of what Segway is about...

It's not the vision Kamen originally had. Still the chairman of Segway, he had hoped to offer the grand solution to the problems of urban traffic and pollution. Instead, his technology offers the solution to a myriad of less all encompassing but still very important problems. "

Full Story: Reinventing The Wheel, Slowly

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