So how does this thing work and WHY is it so revolutionary when compared to just another motorized scooter?
On the simple side of things: The Segway is made of aluminum to keep the weight down and to dissipate heat from the motors eliminating the need for cooling fans. No fans keep the weight down some more and won't add drain to the batteries.
The Segway uses an ignition key that is not only unique to the device, to prevent theft, but also stores performance attributes like steering controls and maximum speed. Three different color keys give you three different maximum speeds.
Each wheel has it's own electric motor. This allows for quick steering much in the same way a tank steers and eliminates the need for a differential.
On the more complex side of things: Each wheel, as it is not being powered, acts as a generator to charge the batteries back up, and if one motor fails, the other motor can and will power BOTH WHEELS. Also, the device maintains it's balance using three gyroscopes at three different axes, but as a safeguard, two additional gyros are installed to maintain a level platform to prevent the user from falling flat on their face.
My favorite part of The Segway is how easily it moves. Just a simple gesture in the direction you wish to move in, and you're going to move in that direction. Kamen, from time to time, has made it sound like The Segway moves using "thought control". Of course, there are no mind reading sensors in the Segway. But there are sensors that will pick up the slightest lean in any direction, telling The Segway which way to go.
Kamen's intention for the Segway is clearly to replace walking. He has said this both live and on his website. This has already been opposed from many angles... first; does Kamen really think he's going to change the law that prevents motorized vehicles, other than wheelchairs, on sidewalks? In five years time, are we going to have "Segway lanes"? We don't even have bike lanes in every city! As it is bicycles aren't even legal on sidewalks, but that law is rarely enforced unless there is an incident caused from the action. I sort of get this feeling that a couple people zipping around on Segways at 12 MPH may cause a few "incidents". Second, we're a bunch of fat bastards in this country to start with. Now we're being asked to consider giving up simple walking. And, with the Segway moving with nothing more than just a lean in the appropriate direction, hands or no hands, I can see Segways zipping along down sidewalks as their riders eat Double Bacon Cheeseburgers. Would Jared Fogle have lost 235 pounds if he rode a Segway to the Subway sandwich shop instead of walking?
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