Is the Segway destined to become a footnote?
Just last month, uber-inventor Dean Kamen waxed philosophic about his ground-breaking creations and, specifically, the Segway.
"There's an adoption curve, and it's more related to people's ability to assimilate ideas than to an engineer's or physicist's or an inventor's ability to produce new technology," Kamen told Time magazine. "The more different a new technology is, the more of an invention it is, the more time it's going to take."
All true, of course, but it doesn't help when safety problems are discovered with the product in question. The 23,500 Segways that have been sold since they came on the market in 2002 are being recalled because of a software bug that could suddenly tip it backward.
Given that it's taken so long to sell despite maximum publicity, the latest news begs the question: Will the Segway ever become a mainstream product?
Blog community response:
"Can you imagine the panic in the streets as pedestrians take flying leaps onto the nearest road to avoid being flattened by an out-of-control Segway? Not the mention the poor unfortunate soul holding on for dear life!"
"I have never been really sure of the value of these things, given that they want $4,000 for them and I was convinced of it when I saw a high schooler in Palo Alto, CA on one while with his peeps--just a new way to be the rich kid in high school? Something akin to the '80s fantasy of owning a Porsche at the age of 16?"
--Surfing Silicon Valley
"The Segway is finding a niche in some commercial and public environments and in the tourist industry. But today, Segway showed just how similar its offerings are to other devices dependent on software."