On the Segway to hell: As the last of these devilish inventions rolls (slowly) off the production line, an obituary
It is with great gladness that we must announce the passing of one of the most lauded symbols of the future, the Segway, as the company announces the end of production of the ironically iconic stick on wheels.
I believe the Segway HT will do for walking, what the calculator did for pad and pencil. Get there quicker. You’ll go further.
Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway Personal Transporter (PT)
Better at maintaining balance than a human being and more fuel-efficient than a car, it turned out to be good as neither, with all production to be halted on July 15, 2020.
Whether you wanted to look too lazy to walk or too dorky to run, the Segway was always there to make you look as cool as a Jehovah’s Witness on wheels.
— Flashback to the Track Podcast (@flashback_track) June 21, 2020
When it was unveiled in December 2001, early adopter Peter Shankman, one of the first five people in New York City to have one, had these kind words to say:
“Every time I used it, I just wound up feeling fat. I got called lazy more times than I could count.”
But the Segway did not go down without a fight, and was responsible for multiple injuries and deaths during its lifespan.
Who can forget the story of Jimi Heselden, who went on to buy the Segway company, who died after riding one off of a cliff?
Or, in 2015, when Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest man, was knocked over by a cameraman on a Segway, reminding him of who’s really top dog after all.
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Even presidents met their match with the PT. During the height of the First Iraq War, in 2003, as bombs rained down over Baghdad, back home, George W Bush fell off of his Segway.
Yet, despite its brushes with fame, it failed to catch the imagination of the world, and always struggled to make a profit.
What we can learn from the experience of the Segway is that sometimes it’s not enough to be a product of your environment – you must make the environment a product of you.
Around the world, the Segway never really managed to fit into the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Was it for inside or outside? Travel or fun? On the road or on the pavement?
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The truth is, no one knew, and now, with its passing, we may never know. In fact, perhaps we never deserved to.
Rest in power, PT.
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