Segway test @ Toyohashi Matsuri

(Wikipedia)The Segway PT is a two-wheeled, self-balancing electric vehicle invented by Dean Kamen. It is produced by Segway Inc. of New Hampshire, USA. The name “Segway” is a homophone of “segue” (a smooth transition, literally Italian for “follows”). PT is an initialism for personal transporter while the old suffix HT was an initialism for human transporter.

Computers and motors in the base of the device keep the Segway PT upright when powered on with balancing enabled. Users lean forward to go forward, lean back to go backward, and turn by using a “Lean Steer” handlebar, leaning it left or right. Segway PTs are driven by electric motors at up to 20 kilometres per hour (12 mph). Gyroscopic sensors are used to detect tilting of the device which indicates a departure from perfect balance. Motors driving the wheels are commanded as needed to bring the PT back into balance.

The limited capabilities compared to vehicles of similar price have limited Segway market penetration by the general population. Segways have had success in niche markets such as transportation for police departments, military bases, warehouses, corporate campuses or industrial sites. The legal road worthiness of the Segway varies with different jurisdictions’ classification of the device as a motor vehicle.

In Japan, the Segway is treated as a motorcycle with an engine displacement between 50 cc and 125 cc. As such, the vehicle must be equipped with brakes and signal lights, and must register for a license plate, making it virtually impossible to lawfully use a Segway on public roads.

4 Segways were available for 5 minutes free rides at the 2008 Toyohashi Matsuri (

My impresion of the 6,000 USD machine ? A great piece of technology, relatively easy to ride. The downturn is the limitation of use on public roads and the still hefty price.

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About Dr.A

Scientist, tech enthusiast, husband and father. Romanian expat. Dupa 3 ani in Japonia, o noua pagina se deschide la Paris.
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