The mini-Segway has a long and proud history, which is more extensive than you would have presumed. You wouldn’t know it, but modern day self-balancing electric people-transporters or ‘hoverboards’ as they are commonly referred to, were inspired by the invention of an incredible machine, which was the Segway PT. The vision that the developers had in the beginning was different from the machines that you see now, but you can notice some similarities in the design specifics.
Everywhere you look now, you will come across hoverboards or a mini-Segway, and you would think that it is a fairly new invention. That isn’t the case because the current mini-Segway has a rich history, and I am going to take you through it all. I also plan on discussing the popularity of this machine, and why it is found everywhere you look.
An Idea that Will Revolutionize Transport!
When the Segway PT was in development, the PT stood for ‘personal transport’, and the team of engineers and scientists working on it realized its enormous potential straight away. They had a vision when they set out to develop the machine, but they had no idea how it would look once they had finished. The man responsible for the design and vision for the Segway, was Dean Kamen.
You can think him for all the extensive contributions that he has made to the world, and I would list them all here, but I would run out of space. He has been credited for creating a water purification system that will help people in the Third World, mobility devices for disabled people, advanced prosthetics, invaluable devices for treating diabetes, and the world’s first medicine infuser.
Even with all those achievements under his belt, Dean Kamen wasn’t a household name, and very few people knew about the contributions he was making. It all changed when he decided to come up with the idea of the Segway PT, which in his eyes was meant to be a personal mobility machine that would revolutionize the way people travel. It was an idea that had the entire world sitting back in wonder, with purists dreaming about flying transport that would be available to everyone.
It was a revolutionary idea, that was way ahead of its time, but that was the beginning of the Segway, and its legacy can be traced back to that time. Kamen realized early on that if he wanted his transport device to be successful, he would need revolutionary balancing technology, which defines the Segway and sets it apart from the rest. Kamen began building a prototype, which was an iBOT powered wheelchair. Kamen, tested the ability of the chair to climb stairs, as it had a unique wheel system, and could balance itself, which was later integrated into the Segway.
However, the one problem Kamen had, was marketing the product: the cost of the iBOT was coming at an eye-watering $25,000. This was outside the financial capability of many people, since Medicare only afforded $5,000 for a powered wheelchair. The problem was that people couldn’t afford the technology that was being sold back then.
Change in Approach and Vision
That was a big problem to have because if you are unable to market your product, and no one can afford it, there is no use for it. Technology has greatly advanced since 2001, and you can see the impact it has made on everything, from mobile phones, to computers, and even cars. This worked in favor for the development of Segway, since the manufacturers could now work with revolutionary technology that was bringing product costs down.
Dean Kamen knew that the idea he had was a winning one, the problem was the affordability. The Segway was too expensive for ordinary people, but he took a risk in still going ahead with it. What resulted was a complete disaster, and the original Segway was labeled by Time Magazine as one of the biggest tech failures of the first decade of the 21st century. They were correct because there weren’t any sales being made since it was too expensive.
The Legacy it left behind
That wasn’t the end of the Segway since we all know that it exists today. The company was bought by Xiaomi and Ninebot, both are Chinese juggernauts in the electronics industry. There were problems with intellectual property rights at first, but those were resolved, so that the public could benefit. Nowadays we are seeing Ninebot coming out with incredible personal electric transports, which are marketed at affordable prices, and that is increasing its popularity.
The best thing is that the Segway has been refined and improved upon over time, which is a great thing because the original Segway had numerous design flaws. It would throw the rider unexpectedly when it was running on low battery, which could result in serious injuries. However, those defects have been ironed out, and the latest mini-Segway is a thing of beauty.
There are lots of models for the Segway, and they have become the gold standard for other self-balancing scooters and hoverboards in the industry now.
Rise of the Hoverboard
The hoverboard is the successor to the Segway, and many believe that this is the fulfillment of the vision of Dean Kamen, when he first thought about the Segway back in 2001. These ‘hoverboards’ don’t hover in the air, but are self-balancing scooters that are being marketed under that name by companies. No one can predict the future, which is why they can’t decide whether the popularity of the modern mini-Segway is only a fad, or whether it will lead to something brilliant.
The rise of the hoverboard has also been hastened because of dwindling oil reserves, pollution, and congestion, which has all worked out as Kamen had envisioned. The Segway miniPRO isn’t a hoverboard, and Ninebot doesn’t market it like that, but as a revolutionary form of personal transportation.
In the beginning, when Dean Kamen introduced his first Segway, it was meant to be the future of human transportation, and would have a rideable platform, would be self-balancing, and would be person-sized. The idea was brilliant, the execution wasn’t, because Kamen only managed to sell about 6,000 devices, which were sold for $2,500 each. He also had to suffer due to bad press, as riders regularly tumbled when the battery lost power in the Segway.
It got so bad that Segways had to be legislated from the streets, and they were popular known as the prop that was used in the movie Paul Blart: Mall Cop. The company couldn’t operate on a profit, so it was sold to a Chinese firm, now owned by Ninebot. Then came the rise of the hoverboards in 2015, and there was another problem to contend with. It was that the hoverboards were crashing and burning, and it seemed like the curse of the Segway would strike again.
There was no other way to look at it, hoverboards were injuring people badly, and this resulted in a call for all hoverboards to be banned in 2016. It was later decided that they would be allowed to be sold on the market if they managed to meet the electric safety standards set by the Underwriters Laboratories, and could meet its Certification.
First of a New Breed
Nowadays, the Segway miniPRO is being marketed on Amazon at incredibly low rates, and has set the gold-standard for all self-balancing scooters in the future. Swagway the hoverboard manufacturer claims that they were the first ones to come back into the industry, when they launched their Swagtron. However, it isn’t in the league of the Segway miniPRO by Ninebot, which resembles previous hoverboards, but is larger and heavier than any hoverboard.
It is the first of a new breed, and comes in two parts, the first of which is the platform/wheeled base with the steering bar that is attached to the mainframe. You will have no problem sliding it on the metal neck, and will realize that it self-locks. The steering bar height is adjustable, so that you can control with your knees, and when it is fully charged, you can ride for hours.
Safety and learning
Before we begin waxing lyrical over the Segway miniPRO, it is important that we discuss the importance of taking lessons before you go out on your first ride. Even the manufacturer has cautioned people about its use, and recommends installing an app on your phone, and pair it with the Bluetooth when riding. If you don’t install the app, your Segway miniPRO will constantly badger you with annoying beeps and sounds, so that you install the app and then complete the product walk-through.
You can easily pair your Segway miniPRO with your Bluetooth device, and once you have connected them, the app will take you through several screens that will give advice on riding and safety. This section can’t be skipped, and the screens will display information for 5 seconds before they move forward. You will be warned by the safety tutorial, about the dangers of riding inappropriately, or trying to conjure up stunts on the Segway miniPRO, since you could serious injure yourself with a bad fall.
There is also an electronic device in the Segway miniPRO that alerts the rider if they are going fast, and you will also be alerted about the dangers of accelerating quickly, and slowing down when you come across bumps, because it can result in faults. It should be noted that two people shouldn’t attempt to ride the Segway miniPRO at the same time. Even after you have completed the tutorial, the safety and learning system in the transport device will not let you exceed a maximum speed of 4.3 mph.
Ride time and experience
Now, we come to the interesting part, the section where we discuss the riding experience of the Segway miniPRO. You need to press the power button to activate the Segway, and the self-balancing feature of the transport device will automatically kick into gear. All you must do to start riding is placing one step on the platform, wait for a noise, and then place your other foot on the step.
You must practice balancing on the platform, because the feeling is different than anything you have ever experienced before. I knew my way on hoverboards and self-balancing scooters, so had no problems putting it through its paces. The only problem I had was the riding platform was a bit higher from the ground than hoverboards, but it was extremely easy to mount on the Segway.
You will find cushioned knee pads that are perfect for placing your knees to control the direction of the Segway, and the steering column is smooth, and adjusts easily. The pads and the bar have two different purposes, one is for stability, and the other one is for steering the Segway. When riding the Segway miniPRO, make sure you are bending your knees a little, and lock them against the pads. Now, start leaning in the direction you want to go, which could be backwards or forwards. If you want to steer the Segway, all you need to do is press a knee into the steering bar and it will change direction.
This method of steering the Segway isn’t ideal and different than hoverboards, which caused me a few problems at first. However, with a little bit of practice, I found it quite smooth and useful, and I started enjoying the sensation of steering the Segway with my knees. It was more comfortable than riding on a hoverboard, and because I was only traveling at the max speed of 4.3 mph in the first kilometer, I could perfect my balance and steering. If I tried going faster, the Segway would automatically lean back, which felt awkward, but it also got my attention.
Once I passed the beginner mode, I could test all kinds of things on the Segway, and pushed it to ride at speeds of 10 mph. It was faster than I imagined it would be, but I was loving every minute of it. The best thing about the Segway miniPRO for me was how responsive, smooth, and quiet it was, making it a highly enjoyable ride for me. I could stop it whenever I wanted to, and it was easy to steer, so I could weave around groups of people without any trouble.
I even tested it by going up and down on hills, and was found that it was pretty simple to do that as well. I was having so much fun, it felt that I could ride the Segway for the entire day, or at least till its charge finished, which does so at 13 miles. The one complain I would have about the Segway miniPRO is that it is heavy, which isn’t ideal when you must carry it up and down stairs.
App fun and features
One of the best parts about riding the Segway miniPRO was that it has an amazing app, with lots of fun features that let you do all sorts of things. The app is available for free, and shows you your battery life, direction, speed, and the temperature of your miniPRO in real time. It would alert you instantly, if you were riding in an unsafe manner or trying to go faster than the maximum limit. I could also use the app to lock the device, and if someone tried to move it during locked mode, the app would start vibrating my phone, and the Segway would tip over and sound an alarm.
The favorite feature of the app for me was the remote control, which allowed me to drive a Segway miniPRO with no one riding it. I used the app to steer a super-responsive virtual joystick, and drove the Segway around. It should be noted that this feature won’t work if someone is already on the Segway. If you are looking for a self-balancing scooter, you will not find any better on the market. The Segway miniPRO isn’t the cheapest in the market, but it is by far the best I have come across.
The best thing about the transport device is that it is easy to use, feels a lot safer, and is extremely fun to ride, which places it above a lot of others in the market.
Popularity of the Mini-Segway
The Segway has become one of the most popular transport devices in recent times, but what has sparked its immense popularity? It made its debut in 2001, and was labelled as a monumental disaster by everyone in the industry. The original idea behind the transport device is the same, as it was meant to change the way people travel, and force city planners to find a way for incorporating this cutting-edge technology when developing future urban plans.
However, over the years the Segway has managed to rise from the ashes, and managed to exceed expectations of everyone in the industry. It is now recognized as one of the best personal transport devices that is currently on the market, and is attracting attention for all the right reasons. It is not only safer, but has become the accepted choice of people, since it manages to fit into the green movement. Lots of people that were hesitant about what Segway miniPRO would be like, have bought into the change brought about by this new invention.
It has become so popular that it is being featured on tourism, with lots of European tour organizers, scheduling Segway Tours, as an ideal way of moving about the city. There are still some challenges facing Segway, but with technology playing such an influential role in the popularity of this transport device, the future holds lots of promise. Even the most hard-core skeptics of Segway have had to eat their own words, because it has become commonplace as a mode of transport.
You are even seeing law enforcement officials adopting it, and you won’t be surprised to see the NYPD promoting its use. This makes citizens see it in a safer light, and with more commercial companies buying into this transportation mode, it is no surprise to see that its popularity numbers continue to soar. In the beginning, everyone used to look at Segways as if it was only a device that nerds would use, but now it has become cool once again to ride it.
The great thing about Segways is that they are being marketed at a reasonable and affordable price, and with nothing to be worried about in terms of it catching fire, the trust of the public is developing. The tourism industry has had no problems in adopting Segways, and you will find tourists riding these transport devices with their friends and families on a sightseeing tour. It is a long way to come from the early days of the Segway, when it was being mocked and was banned altogether.
The reason why so many people want to ride the Segway and are such huge fans of the transport device is that it allows them lots of freedom, and a chance to get in touch with their inner child. Everyone wants to have fun, and now they can with the Segway miniPRO, which is designed to make traveling fun, comfortable, affordable, economical, and safe!
There are even Segway tour companies that are marketing themselves to tourists, and offering them a unique way to travel cities. It is an experience that is different, and unlike a traditional tour where you will have a tour guide using a microphone, holding an umbrella, and telling you stories about the place in a boring voice. Now, you can have an experience of your own, and have an adventure every time you get on a Segway miniPRO. It also makes for an incredibly thoughtful gift now, because what kid wouldn’t want to ride on these self-balancing scooters?
If you want to purchase a self-balancing scooter, your first choice should be the Segway miniPRO.