Friday, February 4, 2011

List: 'The Craziest Segway Videos'

Today’s ‘List Friday’. Segway Inc. is the US maker of a 2-wheeled, self-balancing electric vehicle. The name Segway’s a homophone of segue (meaning ‘a smooth transition’, literally Italian for ‘follows’) [1]. The Segway, invented by Dean Kamen (pictured) [2], was launched in late 2001. Commercial production began in 2002. Its initial annual sales target was 40,000 units. Kamen predicted the Segway ‘will be to the car what the car was to the horse and buggy’. However sales to March 2009 were a disappointing 50,000. The likely reasons include legal restrictions on its roadworthiness (which vary from country to country, and from state to state) [3] and price [4]. I’ve never seen a Segway let alone ridden one. But it looks like fun – at least until something goes wrong. Today’s list’s ‘The Craziest Segway Videos’ [5]. Gizmodo aired it last 27 September – the day after Jimi Heselden, the then owner of Segway Inc., died in a Segway-related incident in England [6]. But as the list’s blurb says,‘Being kind of ridiculous to begin with, Segways make for naturally funny Web videos’. Of the five videos in the gizmodo series, all last under two minutes. The last one’s a preview of the gratis 90-minute doco 10 mph – to which a link’s given. Due to poor sales, a safety recall [7] and Heselden’s death, the Segway’s never come close to realising initial expectations of it. Today’s list and the 10 mph doco maybe the biggest contribution it ever makes. Ho hum.

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