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Sinclair's Answer To The Segway 302

Posted by simoniker
from the c6-hopefully-to-include-rubber-keyboard dept.
slumos writes "BBC News Online is reporting on Sir Clive Sinclair's reaction to the Segway. The British inventor thinks it's fine for factories, but not for crowded streets, and he's even planning some competition in the form of a top-secret follow-up to the Sinclair C5."
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Sinclair's Answer To The Segway

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  • by Anonymous MadCoe (613739) <maakiee@NoSpam.yahoo.com> on Thursday August 07, 2003 @02:41AM (#6632823) Homepage
    Between British and US engineering.
    Styles are different and I wonder what the differences would be.
  • Followups (Score:5, Funny)

    by barbazoo (604828) on Thursday August 07, 2003 @02:44AM (#6632833)
    I would like to see a followup to the ZX-Spectrum.
    • Re:Followups (Score:3, Informative)

      by turgid (580780)
      You mean like the Loki [nvg.ntnu.no] super Spectrum [crashonline.org.uk]?
      • Re:Followups (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Lars T. (470328)
        Or like the SAM Coupe [nvg.ntnu.no], which was actually sold (yet not made by Sinclair).

        (Okay, what's up with using accented chars in Slashdot posts anyway?)

    • Who needs followups? (Score:5, Informative)

      by fleafan (547786) on Thursday August 07, 2003 @03:11AM (#6632926)
      ZX-Spectrum. Ha! That was one overpowered machine. We used to own a ZX-81 with 1K (one kilobyte) RAM, and a keyboard with no keys (well, at least not real ones).

      It didn't have a disk drive or tape deck, so if we wanted to play a game we had to type the program in (in BASIC) from scratch every time the computer was turned off.
      My dad used it for his budget at first, but since we had to keep everything on paper and re-enter the data anyway, he soon dropped it.

      Oh boy, those were the days.

      • by fruey (563914) on Thursday August 07, 2003 @03:45AM (#6633041) Homepage Journal
        There was a tape interface on it though. Nicking Grannie's little cassette recorder from her bedside, and then plugging in the grey and black wires from EAR and LINE respectively (or was it EAR and MIC?) whatever, and you could save to tape and reload later.

        This was standard equipment on our ZX81... although there was always that dreaded DODGY POWER LEAD which if someone so much as breathed on it, the computer would reset... those were the days.

        • The dodgy power lead was indeed bad news, but how about the dodgy ram expansion? I remember using either an easer or a matchbox underneath to stop the thing wobbling and crashing the machine.
        • The ZX81's tape interface, and more importantly the ROM routines, were pretty poor. However the Spectrum vastly improved upon them.

          The poor old ZX81 spoke to the tape at 300 baud, and the screen went blank when loading and saving since the poor old Z80 processor had to do everyting. You could not save arbitrary blocks of memory, just a program and all its variables etc. so if you wanted to save data, you had to save the whole program as well.

          The Spectrum was more sophisticated. It spoke at 1500 baud, and

          • You did get black and white squiggles on the TV when stuff was loading though. Not as nice as the Blue/Yellow loading lines of the speccy though. There was some red too in there, or something. Don't quite remember.

            Doooooo.... dit!

            Program: manic

            Doooooo.... didddlydlydidddlydidddlychorrrorrrchorrrdit!

            And a loading screen would appear! Seemed like magic to me at the time.

            • It was red/blue stripes when reading in the "header record", yellow/cyan when reading the program.

              I remember most games loaded a splash screen off tape and you can watch the image building up in a rather bizzare way - top row of pixels, then a row a third of the way down and then a row 2/3rd way down, then back to the 2nd row at the top... all very strange...
          • The ZX81's screen didn't go blank while saving, it had loads of lines on it. This is because the tape output was actually connected to the display. The ZX81 wibbled the display and that went to the tape. Also when loading the input was reflected on the display. That wasn't technically necessary but the processor didn't have enough time to keep the display updated properly, and hey, nice squiggly lines.
          • Top tip was to copy the tape save/load routines from the ROM to the RAM and tweak the timing constants. You could (fairly reliably) get up to 4500 baud that way.

            I'd forgotten that about the display. The ZX81 had the CPU generate the display (from an interrupt). There were "SLOW" and "FAST" keywords in the basic language. The FAST keyword spared the CPU the job of updating the display to get more cycles for processing (but of couse you couldn't see anything until you switched back).

            Contrariwise, the Spectr
      • I had a game on my '64 in which you could shoot at ZX Spectrums (Spectra?) and when you hit them they showered you with rubber keys.
        • There was a game on the Amiga called ST Bash... a space invaders type game with Atari logos for aliens. IIRC it had a sample from Queens 'Another One Bites the Dust' as the title music.

          Atari scum ;-)
    • The Atari Jaguar (Score:3, Informative)

      by davidmb (213267)
      Don't laugh - it's almost true (kind of).

      Project Loki was the design for a "Super Spectrum" that Sinclair came up with before Amstrad bought them out. Two ex-Sinclair engineers, John Mathieson and Martin Brennan, left and set up their own company called Flare, drawing on the Loki designs to produce a new multiprocessor games console. Atari brought the console to market as the Jaguar. More info here. [nvg.ntnu.no]

      • No, the Flare stuff ended up as the Konix Multisystem.
        The Jaguar was designed by the same people, but was a completely different design. For a start, it was 68000 based, rather than Z80.
  • by altgrr (593057) on Thursday August 07, 2003 @02:45AM (#6632838)
    I believe the article makes reference to Sinclair's other efforts at transportation: the Zike (a folding electric scooter) and the Zeta (a motor which attaches to a normal bicycle, harnessing energy when you go downhill and using it to propel you uphill at a stately 8mph, as I remember).

    These relatively unknown inventions were peddled in the small ads sections of newspapers for a long time. The electric scooter sold for about 500, the bike motor for about 200. But no, I don't know anyone who had one.
  • by boomgopher (627124) on Thursday August 07, 2003 @02:53AM (#6632860) Journal
    Well, this is some another company bashing it's competition - ooh, what big news.

    But while we're on the topic of the Segway: Frankly, I'm surprised at all the negative reaction to the Segway, here (Slashdot) and elsewhere. I mean honestly, it's very innovative, compact, somewhat cheap, enviro-safe, etc. It could really compete with the automobile in many areas. And yet you get the mommy-types bitching about it promoting laziness, dangerous on sidewalks, etc. So nay-sayers, correct my misunderstanding: how exactly will the world be worse if Segways become massively popular? I see nothing but good coming from its adoption.

    • by Mathew Lankard (627700) on Thursday August 07, 2003 @02:59AM (#6632890) Homepage
      I think the bashing stems to the fact that the Segway was made out to be some marvel of modern technology that was supposed to change the way the world moved around. This was according the the hype from the creators and the press. Do we have this marvelous creation? No. Do we have something that Bush can ride around on and look like a bigger idiot? Yes.
    • by Lars Arvestad (5049) on Thursday August 07, 2003 @03:11AM (#6632923) Homepage Journal
      Well, this is some another company bashing it's competition - ooh, what big news.

      I don't think he bashed it! To the contrary, Sinclair said:

      I found it very enjoyable - a nice sensation once I got over the initial nervousness. It's very manoeuvrable, no trouble there at all. After a few minutes practice you can do anything you like.
      Later in the article, he says it is not suitable for British sidewalks, but has applications elsewhere, and I think that is correct. It is a vehicle comparable to a bike and belongs on the street.
      • by rokzy (687636)
        in UK it's illegal (IANAL) to ride a bike on pavement ("British sidewalk"), they're for roads.

        Segways should not be on roads.
        • bikes should be on the road in most of europe, unless there's a bicycle-path. the sidewalk is for walking. segways shouldn't be on roads, so they're not well suited for euopean traffic.
        • in UK it's illegal (IANAL) to ride a bike on pavement ("British sidewalk"), they're for roads

          That doesn't stop people from riding on the pavement though...!
        • The Segway is doubly screwed in Britain, since it cannot be legally used on the pavement and no insurer will cover it to be used on the roads. Even cycleways are out since the local bylaws forbid powered vehicles from using them.

          You might be able to use them if you have a nice long driveway.

          Best wishes,
          Mike.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Who says the world will be worse if Segways become massively popular? careful where you are pointing that straw man.

      The problem is with your assertion that it is 'somewhat cheap' (read expensive) is cumbersome (want to carry it up to your flat to re-charge?) and offers few advantages compared with a bicycle.

      I use a bike for my commute into work, for quick trips to the shops (hey you can put panniers on it - where is the storage on a Segway?) and for pleasurabe jaunts into the countryside. By comparison th
    • by Bloodmoon1 (604793) <be DOT hyperion AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday August 07, 2003 @03:25AM (#6632980) Homepage Journal
      Frankly, I'm surprised at all the negative reaction to the Segway... it's very innovative, compact, somewhat cheap, enviro-safe, etc. ... And yet you get the mommy-types bitching about it promoting laziness, dangerous on sidewalks, etc. So nay-sayers, correct my misunderstanding: how exactly will the world be worse if Segways become massively popular?

      I actually agree with you about the various merits of the Segway, yet I can say I abso-fucking-lutly hate it. Not because of what it is, but because of what it was made out to be. And I suspect my reaction is the same as many people, especially us /.ers.

      Personally, I only think good can come from the Segway and future rivals going into widespread use. I mean, at the very least it isn't really going to ever hurt anything even if they all fall by the side as a technological curiosity. However, I'm pissed because of the hope I had. I remember in the months before the Segway came out, it was hyped as IT. It was going to more or less revolutionize some major facit of modern life, if not all of it. The inventor, Dean Kamen [usfirst.org], is a very intelligent man, and if anyone could live up to his own predictions for a device of his design, it would be him. So when he said stuff like, "It will change the way cities are built. They will be built around IT." (Or something like that, he did say it would forever change city design) I really believed him, and I think so did most of us, hence the hatred for the Segway. I personally was thinking, "Ok, it sounds REALLY far-fetched, but what if this is something really bad ass? What if this is cheap and easy nuclear fusion, teleportation, a viable personal air transport, (or any of a hundred other things I've only dreamed of)." IT really got my hopes up. And then the big day of the unveiling comes up and, anxiously I awaited, only to find out IT_IS_A_FUCKING_SCOOTER!? This had to be, by far, the absolute biggest let down of a product in the (at least recent) history of mankind. After months of hype and hope, we get an advanced toy/novelty that's over priced [amazon.com] any damn way.

      So really, I think the deep, intense hatred of the Segway is not a product of the product, but rather a product of the crushed dreams brought on by the hype of the product. Had we only known Steve Jobs' initial reaction [slashdot.org], I think the let down may have been softer and the backlash much easier.
      • What is impressive and life-changing about the segway is not the segway itself, but the technology it employs [dekaresearch.com]. The same technology that powers the segway also powers the IBOT [independencenow.com], something like a wheelchair [msnbc.com], delivering a previously unheard of amount of mobility to disabled users.
      • Actually the bit about cities being designed around it is not that strange a notion. In holland where we the bicycle is used far more then it seems to be in the US, there is a city called Almere. It is a new city build in reclaimed land. During its initial layout it was decided to seperate car and bicycle traffic with the shortest routes being given to the bicycle and often the right of way as well.

        It worked very well, if you were a cyclist as me it sure as hell beat the standard approach of just try to fi

      • by dmorin (25609)
        Not because of what it is, but because of what it was made out to be.

        How long do you think it takes to change the world? It's not like overnight there's a billion of the things on the streets. Takes time to rebuild cities.

        I'm serious. Take one of his other inventions, the iBot. Or the portable dialysis machine. Don't you think that both were clunkier and more expensive than existing solutions? Both could be said to change the world for the people who need them. But not overnight. Not until they be

      • by babbage (61057) <cdevers.cis@usouthal@edu> on Thursday August 07, 2003 @11:00AM (#6635578) Homepage Journal
        Don't you know your Public Enemy songs? Tut tut...

        Don't!
        Don't -- don't!
        Don't -- don't!
        Don't, don't believe the hype!

        Flava Flav was right: the hype for anything is almost always wrong, and the bigger it is, the bigger the letdown.

        That doesn't mean that the Segway itself isn't a great idea, or that the idle predictions that the widespread adoption of such a machine could reshape the way cities are built.

        Look at what another commenter noted about the bike city in Holland, for example. I've been to Amsterdam, and even there the city has evolved into a place where multiple forms of transportation co-exist. Many of the major streets are 100 feet across, with multiple channels for different modes of transportation. The widest streets [gmacd.com] were laid out something like this (arrows indicate direction that traffic is permitted to flow, which may or may not be bidirectional):

        <--- wide brick sidewalk [mit.edu] (perhaps 15 feet or 5 meters wide) --->
        <--- tarmac bike lane (2m) --->
        <--- narrower sidewalk for pedestrians (2 or 3m) --->
        X--- barricades to protect slower moving traffic (1m) ---X
        <--- space for parallel parked cars [europebyphoto.com] (3m) <---

        <--- a lane or two for cars & trucks to travel (3-6m) <---
        <--- a set of rails [mit.edu] for streetcars / trolleys (3m) <---

        <--- narrow sidewalk for crossing, train platforms [europebyphoto.com] etc (2m) --->

        ---> another set of train tracks [mit.edu] (3m) --->
        ---> another lane or two for cars going the other direction (3-6m) --->
        ---> more space for parallel parking (3m) --->

        X--- barricades (1m) ---X;
        <--- narrow pedestrian sidewalk (2 or 3m) --->
        <--- another bike lane [laportestyle.org] (2m) --->
        <--- another wide brick sidewalk (5m) --->

        if you add it up, the whole thing ends up taking something like 40 meters, or ~120 feet. (It's been a couple of years since my visit, so the widths are rough estimates, but they seem roughly correct to me -- corrections welcome :-).

        Additionally, some streets had wide canals [mit.edu] for boats to go back & forth, but most of these streets dropped the rail & bike lanes, and the overall width was generally similar to the non-canal streets. For streets not wide enough for all the lanes above, different lanes would be dropped at random: there's always be sidwwalks, but there might or might not be car lanes, rail tracks, bike lanes, canals, etc.

        Also, as an aside, everyone with a bike seemed to be a Pee-Wee Herman fan [expofoto.com], which is just fantastic :-)

        Anyway, just imagine how much American streets would have to be re-engineered to support such a rich breadth of traffic. If Segways were to catch on in Amsterdam, maybe they could share that bike lane on either side of the street, or that mini sidewalk next to the parked cars could be converted for Segway-only traffic. Either way though, they have the basic framework such that a vehicle like this could find a niche somewhere. That isn't the case in any American city I've been to. If we ever bother to build streets as wide as the ones I saw in Amsterdam, they almost always end up being used for three or four lanes of cars

        What's that line about predicting the futur

        • by op00to (219949)
          This doesn't happen in the US because of the automobile industry lobby -- honestly! There are "standards" for building streets and roads (not the same thing -- roads are for cars, streets are for everyone). If you don't adhere to these standards (making sure theres enough room for cars, small/no sidewalk, no "dangerous" shade trees, straight, boring ROW) you won't get any money from either the state or federal coffers. Who sets these standards? It varies from state to state, but back in the 30's and 40'
    • I'm surprised at all the negative reaction to the Segway,

      Because it's just a toy. If you want to stand up while rolling along the pavement, use roller skates, a scooter, or a scateboard. All of which are much, much cheaper and more maneuvrable than the Segway. To go any distance, or carry luggage, use a bicycle.

      About as useful as the neon light case mods. Cute to look at, but when you come down to it, a waste of time and money.

    • It's 10x more expensive than a relatively high-end mountain bike.

      It's 25x more expensive than a cheap mountain bike.

      I'd have nothing against Segways if they didn't cost so damn much. It's more a testament to what can be done with technology these days than what should. Kamen is a great guy (his brother taught music at my school until the douches fired him), and he's had some great ideas, but the Segway isn't really one of them.
      • Newsflash: Groundbreaking devices based on new technology that cost a lot to develop almost always cost much until some of the costs have been recouped, and volume and reengineering allows for cost cuts.

        It's as if I'd been bitching about VCRs because they were expensive when they were launched, instead of wanting one but staying away until prices came down to reasonable levels.

    • The fact is that they cost a fortune ("somewhat cheap"? Pur-leaze.), are slow but still unwieldy and make you look like King Dork McDork of Dorkania from the the planet Dorkeraan. They have all the disadvantages of a car (problems with parking, cost, lack of exercise) with the disadvantages of a bike (no weather protection, no passengers, relatively slow speed) and none of the benefits. In short, they are ridiculous. There is definitely a market for one-person medium-speed transportation systems, but this i
      • by 1u3hr (530656)
        There is definitely a market for one-person medium-speed transportation systems, but this is not the solution.

        Maybe unicycles? Or more seriously, small-wheel, possibly folding bikes, such as Bikefriday [bikefriday.com] or the Moulton [moultoneers.net]. These have the advantage over Segways and conventional bikes of being portable, in the sense that youl can carry them inside, on an elevator, or a train to complete your journey.

    • by paiute (550198)
      But while we're on the topic of the Segway: Frankly, I'm surprised at all the negative reaction to the Segway, here (Slashdot) and elsewhere

      Frankly, I'm surprised that you are surprised. It was hyped like it would be the equivalent of a personal jetcar. It turns out to be a powered walker. Great and imaginitive engineering, but it still is only a powered walker.

      I'm willing to let Grandma use it to get to the store from her assisted living apartment, but I don't want to share the sidewalk with obese Segwa
    • by Shalda (560388)
      Segway is far from cheap. All it really has to offer is a novel form factor. There are already a plethora of Gas and Electric Scooters [electricscooters.com] the do the same job far better for 1/10th the price. Or better yet, just buy a damn bicycle and get your fat ass some exercise.

      The drawbacks to the Segway are many: Able bodied people don't need it. Those who are unable to walk are usually unable to stand long enough to use it. It can't compete with the automobile. It hasn't got the range, speed, or storage space t
  • by Anonymous Coward
    A response to a product that is a total flop is REQUIRED. We can't just let the Segway sit around with it's monopoly of 50 units sold, can we??
  • Gone googling... (Score:5, Informative)

    by register_ax (695577) on Thursday August 07, 2003 @03:14AM (#6632942) Journal
    Sir Clive's C5 was "Driven by a combination of battery and pedal power, the C5 was declared a death trap by the Automobile Association because it was too small to be seen by lorry drivers."

    If it isn't safe, it fails for practical use. The segway circumvents this as being reliable sturdy (heavy) US alteration it seems. Of course I'm merely a young chap[sic] residing in the US who has never heard of it before now.

    Before I depart, I was wondering just how dangerous [google.com] it was. Proceeding to google it, I found an interesting interview [216.239.37.104] that appears to have taken place August 1986.

    Of course relational interests are too much so I had to look into the Clive Computer [google.com]. I came across some interesting information [freeserve.co.uk] since my inception was the NES ;-]

  • hmm (Score:2, Insightful)

    by spamchang (302052)
    i haven't RTFA, but segways seem like a good way to clog up sidewalks a la traffic jams. i mean, people slowing down and speeding up, the traffic compression effect all over again, just on the sidewalks. and they take up more space than your average human.
  • dodgy (Score:3, Funny)

    by freedommatters (664657) on Thursday August 07, 2003 @03:43AM (#6633035)
    the c5 was cool but if you rocked it too much the ram pack fell out so you had to restart the engine and go back to the start of your journey. pisser.
  • by canning (228134) on Thursday August 07, 2003 @03:49AM (#6633052) Homepage
    If I were him I'd throw an over-sized muffler on it, a huge wing and some carbon fibre parts. Than offer bigger rims, lowering springs and an enormous stereo as aftermarket add ons.

    He'd sell alot more that way.
  • by loraksus (171574)
    and he's even planning some competition in the form of a top-secret follow-up to the Sinclair C5."

    hell of a secret . . .
    'nuff said.
  • Sinclair C5 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LizardKing (5245) on Thursday August 07, 2003 @03:54AM (#6633066)
    When I lived in Oxford, UK one of the members of the local LUG was also a Sinclair C5 fan. He occasionally uses his C5 to travel to work, having kitted it out with two flourescent flags on poles to make the machine a bit more visible. He also does long distance trips for charity once a year - I recall that the last one was an attempt to travel the length of the country. Spares are fairly easy to come by, one good consequence of Sinclair using off the shelf parts. The tyres for instance, are similar to those used on many prams(!).

    Chris
  • by Dante_J (226787) on Thursday August 07, 2003 @04:02AM (#6633075) Homepage
    Forget the C5 or C6, and Segway.

    Clive Sinclair did have a few sharp ideas and one of them was the the wafer chip project:

    "What you have is a wafer of silicon a few inches in diameter and instead of chopping that up and putting all the bits that work into packages and then putting them all together again on a circuit board, you keep them on the wafer. The problem is that you've got to have some system to test for the good areas. Essentially we divide the memory up into blocks about the size of an ordinary chip and put a bit of extra logic on which uses a mathematical algorithm to connect up the good chips and not the bad. If one bit fails you can power-down and reconfigure it so it has an extended lifetime."

    This was a genuinely good idea [f9.co.uk]. Reduce the cost of chip manufacture and extend the life of computers by many years. Just replace the odd power supply every 3 or 4 years. The reconfigure of faulty chips could even be done on the fly.

    Using this proposed method, Memory & Processor chips aren't just "Good" or "Dead", they can last many years in a very slow state of hardly noticable decay.

    Heat is a problem I hear you say for processors? Well if you have 20 of them on one wafer you don't need them to all be P4s.

    Intel will probably jump onto this idea [nvg.ntnu.no] when Moore's law starts to flatten out.

    Cheap slabs of ram and CPU, that don't fail all at once - yeah!!
    • Memory chips already work this way - they have a pile of redundant circuits. When tested after being fabbed, a few of these are always put into use.

      And the 486SX(?) was (most times) a 486DX with a dud FPU.

      Whilst extending it to an entire chipset would be interesting, would the overhead of design/ cramming it all together/redundant circuitry/etc make it profitable? A dead CPU in your system 3 years down the track means you can get a new CPU+Board etc for the same price as you paid before for your old CPU a
    • Clive Sinclair did have a few sharp ideas and one of them was the the wafer chip project:

      Another was the lovely little Z88 portable computer - sort of a laptop but not quite. It had a 5(?) line LCD display, a semi-travel rubberised keyboard, applications in ROM and solid state storage. IIRC it ran off AA batteries which lasted for weeks (or so it seemed).

      They were as tough as old boots, mine travelled all around Europe with me without ever giving a problem. Eventually it met its maker courtesy of the

  • Sorry Clive, 99.9% of those with an ounce of brain matter considered the Segway an utter waste of technology. Take our president, representative of that .1% who considered it worth using. It's a stupid rich boys toy, and an utter waste of time to use.

    Most people with an ounce of brains could buy an electric scooter with far more range and capabilities for $300 or less here, with enough room for cargo and with options not seen in the Segway, such as turn signals, a horn, a ca0rgo basket, and a headlight. Th
  • by ai2097 (693562) on Thursday August 07, 2003 @04:24AM (#6633140) Homepage
    The major problem with Segways is that they don't fit into any of the current transportation channels that are available. They're too big and too fast for sidewalks, but they're too slow for bike lanes or the street.

    Personally, I bike to work every day (~3 miles, 1.5 uphill, 1.5 down) with a 3-day hiking pack on my back full of all kinds of crap (~25 lbs on average).

    Now, cycling has the same problem as Segways, to some degree; cycles are too slow for the road and too fast for the sidewalks. I usually end up on sidewalks because there are no bike lanes in my commute (or really anywhere in my city) and it's far too dangerous on the road.

    Now, where a bike has an advantage over a segway:
    - I can get off the bike and pass people at a walk.There's plenty of room for people to pass.
    - No charging (no electricity, no gas, just food+water in and CO2/organic waste out)
    - Keeps you healthy
    - Costs little to buy
    - Almost everything on a bike can be fixed with simple tools

    Now... why is there even a market for these things? With busses, taxis, personal cars and motorbikes for motorized vehicles? With bikes and, I dunno, feet for personal transport? Why do we need something completely incompatible with all of the useful pavement we already have down?

    As for using it to get around malls/ workplaces/ etc... you know all of the signs that say NO (insert whelled device here)? I'm sure that segways are not going to be allowed in these places before bikes are.

    Anyhow, my 2c.

    • The big difference with Segway compared to bike, in my impression, is that it can stop. And not only "can", but will stop "instinctively" because the driver instinctively stops leaning forward when there's something ahead. Well, of course a bike can stop too, but you have to put your foot to the ground then and go to "stop mode" so to say. With Segway there's no separate stop mode any more than there is when just walking, so it's much more agile, considering it can turn around in place.

      Also, with bikes

      • The big difference with Segway compared to bike, in my impression, is that it can stop... Well, of course a bike can stop too, but you have to put your foot to the ground then and go to "stop mode" so to say. With Segway there's no separate stop mode...

        If that's the big advantage, I'm thinking it's not worth the difference in coin. Never once in riding a bike have I said to myself "Now, to enter stop mode." Nor do I necessarily think the "lean back" method of stopping is better than a clear control. Ask W

        • Stopping and turning in place are advantages a bike or a scooter can't match at all. The alternative to segway in it's "natural" applications is walking. Wether it's advantage over walking outweights the cost is matter of application, as well as matter of how much money there is to spend.

          I expect the technology to mature, and in 10 years segway-style vehicles will be a viable alternative for small scooters too, not just walking. I mean, the advantages are clear (ability to stop and turn in place withou

      • Segway stopping distances are comparable to a bicycle. [humantransport.org]
    • The problem with high performance cars is that they are too fast to drive in the city. City traffic tends to go from 30mph to about 8 but high performance sports cars go anything from 150 to 200+mph. You just can't use a car like that in the city, that's why you only see them whizzing by on the highway and their owners all have car-shaped holes in their garage doors because the things aren't capable of slower speeds.
    • and it excels in it.

      On a visit to Disney in Orlando last month, the parking lot attendants were whishing up and down the lanes on Segways, directing traffic, scooting over to their colleagues, and so on. This struck me as something the Segway is ideal for. If they had a better cargo carrying capability, I could also see postal workers using them, and maintenance people or anyone who has to cover long distances in factories, campuses, and the like.

      But as a means of serious personal A to B transportation?
    • and it's far too dangerous on the road

      You wooose! I cycled everywhere for about 12 years until I got fat and lazy and hardly ever jumped onto the pavement. Stay on the road, ride nice and fat, keep your pace up, and reserve use of that middle finger only for the REAL spastic drivers and your perfectly safe!

      better than killing a child on the pavement! - how could you sleep!
    • As for using it to get around malls/ workplaces/ etc... you know all of the signs that say NO (insert whelled device here)? I'm sure that segways are not going to be allowed in these places before bikes are. Don't work in many large workplaces do you? Go to any large or even midsized factory.. you are talking miles and miles of walking for managers, team leaders, support people.

      Segway would really work well in these environments, have a problem 3/4 of a mile away at the other end of the asspebly area?

      • Postal workers that walk their deliveries would also find this to be a heart attack saver.

        Sure, in fact using a Segway is so good for your heart compared with walking that I hear gyms are using them to replace treadmills. After all, every /.er knows that exercise kills!
    • eGO Cycle (Score:2, Informative)

      by jwest (21646)
      Try an eGO Cycle [egovehicles.com]. It's a a battery-powered cycle that looks more or less like a bike but with a step-through design, uses mostly bike components for easy repairs, rides like a bike and uses bike lanes, but goes 25MPH (range 20 miles). With baskets you can easily get to work and go to the grocery. They're $1400, and no, I don't work for them.
    • I work in DC. 15 years ago when I started here I used the combination of Metro and a folding bike to commute. The combination of pedalling and DC humidity meant that I often arrived sweaty, and had to take a shower and change clothes upon arrival. This was a major pain, since it meant I had to carry business attire back and forth to work, and I wasted at least a half hour per day showering and changing twice a day instead of once a day. Not only that, the Metro/bike commute itself took much longer than d
    • because some cities [mta.net] won't allow bikes on commuter rail during the heavy commute window. if your office isn' within walking distance of a train station you're sort of screwed... but they will allow segways (at least for now).
    • Now, cycling has the same problem as Segways, to some degree; cycles are too slow for the road and too fast for the sidewalks. I usually end up on sidewalks because there are no bike lanes in my commute (or really anywhere in my city) and it's far too dangerous on the road.

      Disagree with both statements :) Cycles aren't "too slow for the road." Through urban traffic I move just as fast as a car. So it takes me ten seconds longer to reach the next red light. Big deal. In suburban areas I'm moving a bit slow

  • Why is this news? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by singleantler (212067) on Thursday August 07, 2003 @04:42AM (#6633195) Homepage Journal
    I can't see why this article rates a Slashdot story. Basically it's Sinclair saying he thinks the Segway is OK, but he might have something better in the pipeline. There's nothing about what that might be, it's just a piece to fill out the BBC technology section.

    Reporting on what he comes up with when it's actually launched, that's a story. Adding to hype about a product that effectively doesn't exist yet, surely that's just encouraging the sort of disappointment people felt about IT/ginger/the Segway when it was launched.
    • It's news to me because I've read all about Sinclair based on tipoffs from mailing list discussions with people in the UK (Americans have generally never heard of Sinclair, the C5, or Sinclair's computers). The catch though is that all the stories I've read about Sinclair to date have been written in the past tense, with a note of sadness about how he was this mad, failed genius back in the 80s.

      To be honest, until 10 minutes ago I thought the poor guy was dead.

      <pseudo-ed-wood> Sinclair? Ain't he

  • A solved problem (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Moderation abuser (184013) on Thursday August 07, 2003 @05:02AM (#6633258)
    These guys are trying to solve a problem which simply doesn't exist.

    There are feet, there are bicycles, there are electric bicycles, there are go-peds, there are electric go-peds, there are electric scooters, there are petrol scooters, there are motorcycles, there are cars.

    All of the bases are already covered. Why would I want to spend a small fortune (4,500) on an segway when I can buy an electric go-ped with similar performance characteristics in a much more convenient package for 200?

    • Not solved yet... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Dr. Evil (3501) on Thursday August 07, 2003 @09:38AM (#6634750)

      The problem is that cities are built wrong and people have funny goals.

      As I see it:

      • It takes too long to commute
      • Public transit is underdeveloped in most of North America
      • Anything larger than a skateboard has no place on the sidewalk and anything smaller than a good scooter has no place on the road
      • Bicycles and motorcycles are exposed to the elements
      • Most workplaces don't have showers and changerooms for the cyclists who travel more than 5k and work in an office
      • Anything which protects you from the elements and doesn't require human-power, is not manuverable enough to avoid being squashed, so it needs to be armoured and bulked up to protect the occupants from cars
      • Only an internal combustion engine is powerful enough to drive anything which isn't too big to be squashed, and...
      • For those walking on the sidewalk or riding on the streets, or just breathing in rush hour traffic, internal combustion engines are disgusting

      IMHO, the ideal would be to all but discard the car as a method of transportation and focus on public transportation, alternative methods of transportation and high speed networking infrastructure to encourage those who can to work from home.

      Workplaces should have (or locate near heath clubs with) safe bicycle racks, changerooms and showers, and the roads should have wide lanes so that those who really do need to drive don't try to sqeeze cyclists, inline skaters, slow scooters, segways and other junk off the road.

      But, that can't happen overnight... so you need some stupid new technology to inspire people to think about how dumb they all are spending hours transporting a thousand kilograms of metal and glass back and forth across the city on a daily basis.

  • by AndroidCat (229562) on Thursday August 07, 2003 @06:50AM (#6633590) Homepage
    Perhaps we could combine this with a about getting power from blood? [slashdot.org]

    Add the optional forward ramming scoop for refueling, and you're good-to-go!

  • However, I'd like to see more effort in fuel cell technology. If they can make the cars run on methanol, we could very well lose or reduce a LOT of problems - oil dependency, downtown pollution etc.

    I just wish Bush had the vision to launch a program that would make fuel cells more efficient and cheaper.. That way, oil would become much less critical on the long run. Wouldn't that be a greater achievment that throwing that camel fucker in Iraq?
  • Does he think the humble but enduring push bike can ever be topped? "Just wait," he cautions, "until next year."

    so he's going to introduce an electric bicycle. something in the 5 kilo weight range, with a top speed of about 15-20mph. probably not even with gyros to help keep it upright, but possibly. most likely with pedal-power backup (maybe even charging the cells from regenerative braking or the pedals?)

    i've given up on hoping for hovercraft and such... stupid gravity.
    some sci-fi will always b

  • It was called a big wheel. WTF?!?!?!
  • ...will it look as snazzy as a General Products #2 hull?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The reason that the C5 was called the C5 is because Alan Sinclair is a supergeek.

    The Sinclair Spectrum used a Z80 processor, and Mr. Sinclair was a hardcore Z80 coder back in the day...

    The instruction numbered 0xC5 is PUSH BC.... So it's really Sinclair C5 = Push Bike

    I've been impressed with that geekiness since about 1984 :)

    Yours
    AnonymouSCOward

    Argh.. I wonder what how much money the bastards will want to 'clean' my name :)
  • Cannot see the point of the Segway. Actually, there are lots of older people with limited mobility (arthritis etc.) who are not completely disabled. My father, for instance, who can walk about a mile, slowly (he is over 80) and would not be seen dead in a wheelchair. In fact, he has a lot of difficulty getting into and out of cars. Besides, he doesn't need a wheelchair. In the small town he lives in, there is relatively little sidewalk traffic during the day and he could easily get right round the town on a

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