Segway Human Transporter

What is a Segway Human Transporter

A young couple rides segways together
Noel Hendrickson/ Taxi/ Getty Images

What was once a mysterious invention created by Dean Kamen that had everyone speculating as to what it was - is now known as the Segway Human Transporter, the first self-balancing, electric-powered transportation machine. The Segway Human Transporter is a personal transport device that uses five gyroscopes and a built-in computer to remain upright.

The Unveiling

It was unveiled to the public on December 3, 2001 in Bryant Park (NYC) on the ABC News morning program Good Morning America.

The first Segway Human Transporter used no brakes and did a nifty 12 mph.

The speed and direction (including stopping) were controlled by the rider shifting weight and a manual turning mechanism on one of the handlebars. The initial public demonstrations showed that the Segway could travel smoothly across pavement, gravel, grass, and small obstacles.

Dynamic Stabilization

Dean Kamen's team developed a breakthrough technology the company termed "Dynamic Stabilization," which is the essence of the Segway. Dynamic Stabilization enables Segway self-balancing emulation to work seamlessly with the body's movements. Gyroscopes and tilt sensors in the Segway HT monitor a user's center of gravity about 100 times a second. When a person leans slightly forward, the Segway HT moves forward. When leaning back, the Segway moves back. One battery charge (cost of ten cents) lasts 15 miles and the 65-pound Segway HT can run over your toes without causing you harm.

The United States Postal Service, the National Park Service and the City of Atlanta field tested the invention.

The consumer was able to buy the Segway in the year 2003 at the initial cost of $3,000.

Segway produced three distinct initial models: the i-series, the e-series, and the p-series. However, in 2006 Segway discontinued all previous models and announced their second-generation designs; i2 and x2, that also allowed users to steer by leaning the handlebars to the right or left, which matched the leaning forward and backward to accelerate and decelerate.

Segway

  • Segway is a Manchester, NH, based business founded by renowned inventor and entrepreneur Dean Kamen to provide a solution to short-distance travel.
  • Segway FAQ Frequently asked questions about the Segway Segway Human Transporter.
  • How a Segway Works
  • Manual for Segway

The following article was written in 2000 when the Segway Human Transporter was a mysterious invention known only by its codename Ginger.

Ginger

A book proposal has heightened the intrigue about a secret invention touted as being bigger than the Internet or the PC and Dean Kamen is the inventor. The article states that Ginger is not a medical device, even though Kamen has created many medical innovations. Ginger is supposed to be a fun invention that comes in two models, Metro and Pro, will cost about $2000 and be an easy sell. Ginger will also revolutionize city planning, create an upheaval in several existing industries and may be an environmentally friendly product. The world has a new buzz. Dean Kamen, a renowned inventor and visionary who holds more than 100 US patents, has invented a breakthrough device, code named Ginger.

My best guess, after looking over the patents Dean Kamen now holds and after reading about the inventor, is that Ginger is a transportation device that flies and requires no gasoline. My impression of Mr. Kamen is that he is an inventor in the best sense of the word - his inventions improve lives and the man cares about the future welfare of the world. Whatever Ginger really is, my intuition tells me that Ginger will make the impact that all the "hype" claims it will.

Mysterious Ginger May be a Scooter

The mysterious, purportedly world-changing device that has caught the attention of the technology industry may be something as simple as a scooter.

Dean Kamen - Edwin F. Church Medal

Dean Kamen, president of DEKA Research & Development Corp., received the Edwin F. Church Medal for significant research in the field of biomedical engineering and for establishing FIRST (For the Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) for America's youth. Dean Kamen, multimillionaire inventrepreneur, went global with a robochair that climbs stairs, a miracle motor that fights disease, and his wildest notion of all - that scientists will be the 21st century's superstars.

Dean Kamen (DEKA Research and Development)

Biography of the inventor and physicist Dean Kamen, highlights his accomplishments and the non-profit organization he founded. Besides reading the long list of scientific accomplishments, you can learn trivia about Dean Kamen such as the following fact.

"One of Dean's little known accomplishments is his ranking in the Guinness Book of World Records for most consecutive days wearing a denim outfit. The record is currently 14,616 days (no, not really) and counting... Dean's fashion consultants."

However, more importantly, in 1995, Dean Kamen was awarded the Hoover Medal for "inventions that have advanced medical care worldwide, and for innovative and imaginative leadership in awakening America to the excitement of technology and its surpassing importance in bettering the lot of mankind."

Dean Kamen - Founder, FIRST

FIRST is an acronym that stands for "For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology".

Dean Kamen

Dean Kamen invented a portable medication technology.

The IBOT

Dean Kamen's IBOT is not a wheelchair -- Dean Kamen insists his IBOT is not a wheelchair.

Conversations with Dean Kamen

Inventor Dean Kamen discusses an annual robot competition, US FIRST.

Dean Kamen - Father of the Segway

Dean Kamen, 52, is a multi-millionaire, college dropout engineer, inventor and visionary who loves to work.