Inventor Dean Kamen demonstrated his 'Segway Human Transporter' in New York's Bryant Park Monday. With him for the staged festivities were Diane Sawyer and Charles Gibson from ABC's "Good Morning America" which aired the event live.
So what is it? Well, it looks like a push mower, but it's actually a battery-powered scooter accommodating a single, standing rider. It's very quiet and is said to be able to travel fifteen miles on a single charge.
A computer-controlled apparatus keeps the thing stable and enables it to turn on a dime. It goes forward and backward and rotates in place. Rider input is essentially a matter of shifting one's weight and steering with the handle bars. Top speed is 12 mph, and the cost will be about $3000.
Yahoo! has a good photo of it here.
So, will it revolutionize urban life as the press-hype surrounding its initial disclosure dared predict? Probably not.
First off, it's expensive. On top of that, it weighs 65 lbs, making it a real monster to drag home on an empty battery. But then again, it's not so heavy that it can't easily be grabbed and tossed into the back of someone else's pickup truck.
And anyway, they'll be banned from municipal sidewalks the split second some 18-month-old toddler gets crushed and paralyzed for life. Teenagers will re-jigger them, make them go very fast, and break their necks in Extreme Ginger exhibitions in front of admiring babes, leading to further restrictions by official killjoys. Small children will ride them down stairs, to very bad outcomes. And dogs will chase them relentlessly.
For dogs, surely, Ginger is proof of God's infinite love and generosity. For the rest of us, it's an amusing novelty, possibly a fad, but we don't quite see, as Steve Jobs reportedly did, cities being designed around it. ®