Segway’s story can’t be informed with out rehashing its entry onto the scene as some of the hyped tech merchandise of the early 21st century. Alternately codenamed “Ginger” and “IT,” the non-public mobility gadget engendered severe conversations amongst futurists in regards to the methods through which it will rework sidewalks and cities.
Nearly 20 years after its preliminary launch, nonetheless, the two-wheeled Segway PT is finished. Parent firm Ninebot is ceasing manufacturing of Dean Kamen’s best-known invention, because it lays off 21 staff at its New Hampshire plant who labored on the challenge. As is so usually the case, issues didn’t go as anticipated.
Along the way in which, the Segway discovered some love amongst tour guides and cops. Certainly everybody’s favourite Kevin James movie wouldn’t have been the identical with out it. Ultimately, the corporate offered about 140,000 fashions over the two-decade lifetime of the product, making it, at finest, a private mobility area of interest.
In April 2015, the corporate was acquired by Ninebot. The Chinese robotics startup has continued to make all method of non-public transport units, from normal kick scooters to an egg-shaped seated mobility product unveiled at CES. Kamen, in the meantime, has moved on to different issues. Just final week it was revealed that he’s been engaged on engineering human organs from cells — a probably much more transformative innovation than a self-balancing scooter.
“It was an awesome invention 20 years in the past,” Segway VP Tony Ho informed CNN. “Now it appears a bit outdated.” The govt provides that the PT presently accounts for round 1.5% of Ninebot’s complete income.
The product was born out of Kamen’s work on self-balancing wheelchairs. At its launch, it gained reward from many tech luminaries, together with Steve Jobs, who was significantly taken with the invention. It made some memorable headlines within the intervening years, together with the dying of British entrepreneur Jimi Heselden, whose personal Segway veered off a cliff months after buying the corporate from Kamen.
Depending on who you ask, the Segway PT is a cautionary story in regards to the tech hype cycle or an modern product that was simply too stunning for this world. Whatever the case, it definitely left its mark.