The name Segway is associated with tech failure. After all, inventor Dean Kamen once thought that his two-wheeled scooters would become a substitute for cars. He pictured a future in which people buzzed to the supermarket, library, or work on their Segway PT scooters.
We are all aware that didn’t happen. The Segway is still around and it isn’t a totally uncommon site to see someone taking a Segway out for a “drive” around the block. For a “failed” technology, that is a pretty notable feat!
But how do these two-wheeled scooters work? Electric motors hold the key.
Powering the Segway
Each Segway PT is powered by electric motors which are, in turn, fueled by phosphate-based lithium-ion batteries. Segway owners can charge these batteries by plugging their Segways into common residential electrical sockets. The unit doesn’t tip over due to its two computers loaded with proprietary software, pair of tilt sensors, and five gyroscopic sensors.
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 a little, the Segway’s sensors acknowledge the modification in balance point and react appropriately. The most up-to-date version of the Segway features a top speed of 12.5 MPH. For obvious reason, it performs best on flat surfaces.
Experts touted that the Segway would be a bigger deal that Internet. Clearly the device didn’t live up to that level of hype!
However, once the Segway was released many thought it looked strange and you looked weird riding one. Others thought it looked unsafe. Regardless, the downsides were enough to prevent the Segway from reaching its promised potential.