History of the Segway PT x2
Jackson Street, Harlingen, Texas
The Segway PT
My sisters and I recently took a tour of downtown Harlingen, Texas on Segway X2. This was our first time to ride a personal transport device. We all really enjoyed our rides. It helped that we had a really wonderful teacher. Rachel Bunton was our guide and teacher. She was very patient, gives clear and accurate directions, and enjoys riding a Segway X2. When I arrived back in Missouri I was told that the inventor of the Segway PT had plunged to his death while riding the Segway X2. This peaked my curiosity and you get to share in the results of my investigation.
Inventor Dean Kamen
A gentleman by the name of Dean Kamen, who is the son of Jack Kamen, who is the illustrator of the magazines; Mad, Weird and Science and DC Comics is the inventor of the Segway PT (Personal Transport).
Mr. Kamen’s first invention was an insulin pump for treatment of diabetes. Later, he saw a man in a wheelchair trying to get it over a curb. He said “we can put man on the moon, but we can’t get a wheelchair over a curb.” He then set about trying to find a way to solve this problem. Thus, the invention of the iBot wheelchair.
Self-balancing personal transportation device
The matrix of iBot wheelchair lead to the invention of the Segway PT. The Segway is a self-balancing personal device that can operate in any level of pedestrian environment on two wheels. The Segway has five gyroscopes. Gyroscopes are spinning wheels or discs. It was the balancing technology of gyroscopes that converted from the iBot to the Segway PT. Mr. Kamen found that 80% of all trips made were by one person in a car for 1 mile. He felt the Segway could be a real energy saver especially in cities and countries with large populations.
PT (Personal Transport) Segway
Body movement are the steering
The Segway is guided by the forward and backward movement of the riding persons body as they stand on a platform. To steer to the left or right you pull the handle. The handle does not guide the Segway. It is guided by your movements, you lean left to go left etc… The gyroscope sensors keep the Segway in balance. You can go up to 12.5 miles per hour. The Segway can easily move a person over 200 pounds up and down the hills, through valleys, across the sand and down a sidewalk. I visited the Rio Grande Valley Premium Outlet Mall between La Feria and Mercedes, Texas a few days after our ride and the malls security were riding a Segway.
In 2009 Jimi Heselden, chairman of Hesco Bastion, a UK based company, purchased Segway, Inc. In September 2010 Mr. Heselden died when he and his Segway fell off a cliff into the River Wharfe in the United Kingdom which is a little over one hundred miles north of London. There seems to have been much confusion over the inventor and the current owner of Segway, Inc when the death was reported. The inventor Mr. Dean Kamen is still very much alive and at work.
Mr. Kamen has since continued in his humanitarian inventions. He has created the Slingshot. A unit that can purify up to 365,000 liters of water each year. That is enough drinking water for 300 people daily. This unit is so powerful it can purify a 50 gallon drum of urine. He has also invented the Stirling engine which uses methane to generate electricity from cow dung.
To ride a Segway is still expensive entertainment at approximately $45.00 a hour. To purchase a Segway is approximately $7,000.00 which makes it a little on the pricy side for transportation when a bicycle is in the 100’s. I do not believe we have seen or heard the last of the Segway. It is definitely a fun and efficient way to be transported.
If you go to Harlingen, Texas or South Padre Island plan ahead and make a morning of Downtown Harlingen or an afternoon on the beach of South Padre with Brian and Rachel Bunton on a Segway at www.segvalley.com or (956) 565-2404.