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Segway's Drift W1 e-skates put robot wheels on your feet for $400

These look like they'd make traversing airports more fun.


Segway-Ninebot has opened preorders for its personal rolling transport products, the Drift W1 e-skates, which will be formally announced at a press conference during the IFA tech show on August 30. You can preorder them now for $400: $100 down and $300 when they ship in mid-August.

Segway really needs to shoot promo video in Studio 54 and give them the full retro treatment. And just wait for pedestrians to start complaining about these robowheelers on their sidewalks.

Oh -- they're tossing in a free helmet, too.

The company added some specs on its product page. They weigh about 7.7 pounds (3.5 kg) per wheel, which is pretty heavy for something you'll be carrying. They're also about 11.5 by 6 by 5 inches (29 by 16 by 12 cm), so may require a new bag as well. 

Maximum speed is rated at roughly 7.5 mph (12 kph) and the battery at around 45 minutes depending on "riding" style and road conditions.

The W1s are possibly the least strange-looking rolling transport the company has ever announced. They'll probably even be available from vending machines. They use the same self-balancing technology to keep you from falling over that Segway has been known for since the Segway Human Transporter arrived in 2002. 

E-skates aren't a new concept -- research and development has been going on in various places for at least 10 years, such as the ones demonstrated at the International Robot Exhibition in Japan in 2009. And just this year at CES, Razor launched its Jett Motorized Heel Wheels. (So no, Segway-Ninebot, you did not "launch a new product category.")

Originally published June 28.
Update, July 25: Added pricing, availability and specifications.