China's military tries out Segways

Skilled riders, it seems, should be able to keep both hands on a weapon, take aim, and fire while still accelerating and turning the device with their body movements.


Visitors to this summer's Olympics in Beijing may see a familiar American gadget on the go, according to a report from the Xinhua News Agency, the official press agency of China.

China's military demonstrated on Tuesday their skills at balancing and shooting while on Segways (Xinhua photo of demo) during a series of drills of anti-terrorist units in Jinan, Shandong Province, according to Xinhua.

The Segway was demonstrated as a useful tool since it allows soldiers, once they are trained in balancing and maneuvering the machine, to keep both hands on their weapon while still accelerating and turning the device with their body movements. In skilled hands, a Segway could be kept still enough to offer a stable position from which to shoot.

While visually amusing, the use is not entirely surprising as Segway proudly touts its Robotic Mobility Platform (RMP) on its Web site and lists all four branches of the U.S. military as clients.

See also: "Photos: Segway rollouts, recalls and pratfalls"

Tech Culture
About the author

In a software-driven world, it's easy to forget about the nuts and bolts. Whether it's cars, robots, personal gadgetry or industrial machines, Candace Lombardi examines the moving parts that keep our world rotating. A journalist who divides her time between the United States and the United Kingdom, Lombardi has written about technology for the sites of The New York Times, CNET, USA Today, MSN, ZDNet,, and GameSpot. She is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not a current employee of CNET.


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