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re: segway
5 dec 2001
charles quinn  wrote:

>i could see the segway, as envisioned by the designer, to change the way we 
>design cities and transportation systems.

the 7-page article in this week's (dec 10) time magazine quotes steve jobs: 

  if enough people see this machine, you won't have to convince them
  to architect cities around it; it'll just happen.

>most of the posters decried its price but think nothing of driving 
>a 3000 lb vehicle to haul around their "150 lb ass" as noted by mr kamen.

he also says:

  cities need cars like fish need bicycles... a bike is too slow
  and light to mix with trucks in the street but too large and fast
  to mix with pedestrians on the sidewalk. 

other interesting info: it has no brakes, no engine, no throttle,
no gearshift, no steering wheel and no turning radius. it can
"carry the average rider for a full day, non-stop, on only five
cent's worth of electricity." the development cost was over $100
million. 

the firm has a 77k ft^2 factory "that will be capable of churning out
40,000 segways a month by the end of the year." in the future, kamen
envisions that cars will be banished from urban centers to make room
for millions of "empowered pedestrians." kamen invented the first drug
infusion pump, the first portable insulin pump, the first portable
dialysis machine, and "an array of heart stents, one of which now
resides inside vice president dick cheney" (this could be an advantage,
if it is radio controlled, and kamen has a transmitter :-)

lean forward, go forward; lean back, go back. it's a human amplifier.
"when you walk, you're really in what's called a controlled fall. you
off-balance yourself,putting one foot in front of the other and falling
onto them over and over again. in the same way, when you use a segway,
there's a gryroscope that acts like your inner ear, a computer that
acts like your brain, motors that act like your muscles, wheels that
act like your feet. suddenly, you feel like you have on a pair of magic
sneakers." the segway gyros are just for balance sensing, vs brute force,
which comes from 2 motors for each wheel (for greater reliability) that
take orders from 10 microprocessors. 

it comes equipped with three comptuterized keys that set speed and
performance limits. the slowest setting, now called training mode,
used to be jokingly referred to... as ceo mode. 

nick




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