Segway rolls out technology licenses

The device maker opens up its smart-motion technology to licensing. A robot maker is the first to sign on.

Segway on Friday said it will license its smart-motion technology to third-party companies making different products.

The company will also jointly develop new products with the companies by using Segway technology and know-how as tools, it said.

The first such deal has been struck with Hong Kong-based Wow Wee, a maker of robotic toys. Under the agreement, Wow Wee will incorporate Segway technology into the next generation of its robotic entertainment products, including Robosapien, Roboraptor and Robopet. Some of these products are slated to hit the market in 2006, the company said.

Segway is best known for its two-wheel Human Transporter scooter, sales of which have been slow to take off in the United States. The firm has considered marketing its devices and technology in international markets for some time, particularly in Europe and Asia.

The smart-motion technology deployed in Segway products such as Human Transporter and Concept Centaur, a four-wheel vehicle, is designed to enable such devices to monitor their environment, control their motion and move appropriately in a variety of situations, the company said. The technology package includes sensor technologies, electric propulsion systems and controls software.

"Our investment in research and development has resulted in a robust technology portfolio that is applicable to several other product categories besides our own," Segway CEO Jim Norrod said in a statement. "This licensing program will expand the global market for Segway Smart Motion."

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