October 13th, 2016
History Of Segways
Ever wondered where the futuristic-looking Segways came from? The one-of-a-kind mode of transport has been around for over 14 years now, yet still looks like something that would’ve come from a Back To The Future inspired film. We decided to do a bit of research and find out exactly where the machines came from.
To start with, we should explain exactly what a Segway is for those who still aren’t quite sure. A Segway Personal Transporter – Segway for short – is a battery powered vehicle set on two wheels that moves and steers by the rider leaning their weight left, right, forwards or backwards. This little machine weighs about 65 pounds and can reach speeds of 12.5 mph – it won’t knock your socks off, but it’s not speed that makes them so fun. Riding on a Segway can make riders feel like they are floating on air due to the tilt sensors which monitor riders centre of gravity up to 100 times per second. It uses five gyroscopes (mounted rotating wheels and an axis) to enable the Segway to be “self-balancing”.
So back to the history, Segways were invented by Dean Kamen as a way to revolutionise how people commuted and travelled through busy cities. The name Segway comes from the word “segue” meaning ‘smooth transition from one thing to another’. The grand revealing of the transporters in 2001 was on ABC’s Good Morning America program and received an abundance of positive feedback.
The step by step creation process of the Segway includes invention, development and financing – and the machines innovations don’t come cheap. The creation of the Segway even became the narrative of the nonfiction book – Code Name Ginger (in bookstores as Reinventing the Wheel) by Steve Kemper. The publication of the book caused a huge media buzz before the Segway’s release, so huge that is was quoted by Steve Jobs “as big a deal as the PC” (although this quote has later been disputed). South Park even created an episode mocking the hype of the product.
If you were lucky enough to have a few thousand dollars spare (around $5000 to be precise) in 2002, you could have purchased one of the first Segways as they were made available to the public. However, you may not have been able to ride it around on the streets as some states have restricted their use in public areas. That being said, Segways are widely used by more than a thousand police and security agencies and have apparently caught criminals in the act, from car thieves to chasing gun-men in Chicago!
We hope you have enjoyed learning a bit more about Segways. The gift of a Segway adventure is a fun day out for all, whether it’s for a couples experience looking to take a sightseeing tour with a difference, or a family looking to spend quality time together. We hope we’ve inspired you to try one out! You can see the selection of Segway experiences we provide here.