Archive for May, 2011
Segway NZ congratulates Glen Martin and his team today, as the Martin Jetpack soared to 5,000ft for the first time. TVNZ’s ‘Sunday’ program captured the event for broadcast this evening (TV One, 7:30pm or watch here), and the official media release is here. Set against the background of Canterbury’s towering Southern Alps, the Jetpack lifted off from a farmer’s paddock to climb at 800 feet per minute into the sky. Previously, the Jetpack was best known for flying around inside an abandoned coolstore or , and the maximum height attained had been 150 feet. However, it had always been designed to fly to at least 4,000 feet – a feat now easily attained.
The Martin Jetpack was named one of TIME magazine’s Top 50 inventions of the year (in 2010), and this test flight brings a commercial release a key step closer. Also successfully tested today was the ballistic parachute to lower the Jetpack safely to the ground in the event of engine failure.
Philip Bendall, Segway NZ’s managing director was fortunate to be one of the first in the world to fly the Jetpack in 2009. More recently, Segway NZ has provided Martin Aircraft with a Segway Personal Transporter (PT) for promotional and flight training purposes (the gyroscopic control principles underpinning the Segway PT are the same as the ‘fly-by-wire’ controls of the Jetpack, and this makes learning to ride the PT an ideal introductory step for new pilots).
Segway Sponsors MotoCzysz Racing 2011 at Isle of Man
The Isle of Man TT (Tourist Trophy) is the world’s most prestigious motorcycle race, and this competition is more than 100 years old. Companies such as Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki compete for the top honour in motorcycle road racing, and beginning two years ago an series of electric motorcycle races has been added, in addition to traditional petrol-driven races . This year Segway, Inc. becomes title sponsor of leading entrant MotoCzysz who last year won the two most important titles in this field.
During the first decade of the 21s century Segway, Inc. has developed unique technology and expertise in electric vehicles and battery energy management with its Personal Transporters (PTs), Robotics platforms and a variety of two and four-wheeled Advanced Developments (Centaur, Puma, GM’s EN-V, etc). Not only is Segway a recognised innovator with a team of world-class mechanical, electrical and software engineers, but Segway’s CEO Wayne Mitchell is a British motorcycle champion and a current motorcycle land speed record holder.
Find out more and read today’s media release at Segway Racing.
Last year the US Federal Government formally classified the Segway PT as a mobility device under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). From March this year, businesses, councils, and national parks were required to permit access by mobility impaired persons on Segway PTs, and update any current policies/rules/bylaws/regulations/etc to enable this.
Until the invention of the Segway PT, mobility users did not really have any practical way of truly enjoying parks, beaches and easy walking tracks.
Most mobility scooters simply cannot cope with the conditions found on even well-kept tracks, and none can operate on sand. Even those mobility scooters with greater off-road capability leave deep tracks behind on soft surfaces due to small wheels and overall weight, and are correspondingly less ‘polite’ when used in busy pedestrian areas. Overall size and weight make mobility scooters inconvenient to bring from home to the great outdoors.
The Segway PT is lightweight (models range from 32kg to 56kg), leaves almost no trace even on a sandy beach, and is small and light enough to transport inside most family vehicles, or on a manual or electric tow-bar carrier (Segway NZ sells the powered Trilift for $2,495). Even the x2 and XT models are ‘polite’ enough for urban use (they are narrower than many modern baby carriages).
Here’s an example of how one US local transportation authority updated their bylaws to meet ADA requirements to permit use of Segway PTs on a popular walking trail:
ASPEN, Colo. — A Colorado trail popular with hikers now allows Segways, but not other motorized vehicles.
The Rio Grande Trail from Aspen to Glenwood Springs has a new policy on small electric-powered vehicles to make the trail accessible to the disabled. New rules approved by the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority limit vehicles to 150 pounds (68kg), 32 inches wide and a top speed of 20 mph.
The Segway rule was intended to make the trail more accessible without allowing ATVs, snowmobiles or other motorized vehicles hikers oppose. The rules don’t cover electric bicycles, which the Authority will consider later.
This increasing recognition that the gentle, zero-emission Segway PT has such a low environmental impact is one of the reasons behind the growth in eco-tours on PTs through scenic bush routes.
These activities encourage families and groups to get out and about in the great outdoors – particularly when they would not have done so previously because one or more individuals is unable to complete such journeys on foot (meaning such outings were something everyone would have missed out on). For example, the first Segway Tour has just opened in eco-conscious Tasmania, Australia. Check out Segway Tasmania’s website and watch their promotional video on YouTube here.
Auckland-based Rex Bionics has announced the sale of the first Rex Exoskeleton today, to Kiwi Dave MacCalman – a multiple medal-winning paralympian who hasnt walked for 30 years. This news was front page news on the Sunday Star Times, and is now being reported worldwide (for example, here at Engadget).
Segway New Zealand’s managing director Philip Bendall was fortunate to be one of the first to try out walking in Rex at MORGO in August last year (report includes photos). One of the projects that Rex Bionics is currently considering is making it possible for Rex to ride on a Segway PT.
Peter Gabriel is well-known for his many solo hit singles and albums, and as lead singer of rock band Genesis for many years. In 2003 he was the first to utilise the Segway Personal Transporter (PT) in a stage performance. Here is the singer and his female vocalist riding a pair of original Segway HT i167 models during a live performance of the song Games Without Frontiers.
Weird Al Yankovic is another other well-known performer to use a PT. He rides one in the music video for his parody song “White and Nerdy” and name-checks it in the lyrics. When Al toured in 2007, Segway NZ provided a red HT i180 for him to use on stage at the Auckland show. Here’s a photo from that tour.
Snoop Dogg and Kiwi rapper Ethical are other artists who’ve featured Segway PTs in their music videos. Check out Ethical’s video, shot on Auckland’s North Shore using a fleet of PTs from Segway NZ.