Manta Ray Segway (or is that a Manta-Seg-Ray?)…gliding on ice

Chris Wilkie from Thaumatology Visual Associates produces extraordinary special events and theatrical productions. Entwining pyrotechnics and inventive LED lighting with performance dance, his works have entertained at events both here and overseas.


Tens of thousands of Kiwis have welcomed in the New Year at the stroke of midnight to Chris’s fireworks and dancers at iconic summer event Rhythm & Vines. In the UK, many more have seen his work as part of Cirque du Soleil.

Chris has been hiring Segway Personal Transporters (PTs) from Segway New Zealand since 2005, rigging them with fireworks, LED lighting and colourful costumed characters. He was one of the first to recognise the new, unique creative opportunities this self-balancing machine offers performers.

His latest creation is this incredible manta ray that glides elegantly about on a Segway PT.


The manta ray will be seen next as part of a special Cirque du Soleil performance on an ice rink in Kuwait. Chris is set to depart for the Middle East this weekend. The manta ray was developed to operate on a stage or other common flat surface where standard Segway PT tyres offer excellent traction. Accordingly, Chris has had to come up with a way to get traction on ice.

Snapshot 2

Chris has developed specially modified wheels for the Segway PT that offer sure grip on the ice during the performance. He removed the tyres and added dozens of radial metal spikes that he drilled in through the plastic wheel. Initially, there were too few spikes, and the spikes themselves were too long – extending too far into the ice to the point that the Segway PT had difficulty moving at all. Doubling the number of spikes and a night in the workshop with the disc grinder (angle grinder) to shorten them soon fixed the issue.

Find out more at the Galactic Stingray website.

Garden Centre staff “tremendously” more productive on 5 Segway PTs

Large worksites suffer from low productivity of staff doing high-value work when they have to walk long distances. The time lost from walking during a work shift is time that is not spent generating value in the business, and it can never be regained.

Many businesses in New Zealand stand to obtain measurable benefits by introducing Segway Personal Transporters (PTs). While primary industries are the largest export sector by value in this country, it is a sector which is yet to begin to directly embrace Segway PTs. To date, deployments have been limited to a small number of dairy farms, forestry sites and Kiwifruit orchards. Endeavours such as horticulture, commercial growing (including glasshouses and flowers) and vineyards are yet to discover the utility of the Segway x2 model, which can be fitted with either ATV or Turf tyres to suit conditions. The Segway i2 is also suitable, particularly when the surface is firm (grass, clay, shingle, wood chips) and this model’s narrow footprint is desirable.


Here is a recent example of how a garden centre in Spain has achieved a fifty-plus percent increase in staff productivity with a fleet of three Segway PTs, as reported at the official Segway Blog (where you can read the full version of this story, and many others):

Viveros Bermejo is a garden center in Murcia, Spain. It spans 130.000 square meters and specializes in ornamental plants and flowers. In an effort to improve the productivity and maneuverability of his employees, Manager, Juan Bermejo, implemented Segway Personal Transporters (PTs).

“The PTs have benefitted the business tremendously,” said Bermejo. “My team’s overall efficiency has greatly improved and I’m very happy about that.”

Q:How many units are you using at the garden center?  
A:  We currently have 5 Segway i2 PTs and we use them all daily.

Q:  What do you use the Segway PT for?
A:  The nursery is a sprawling facility. We use the PTs as a means of transportation to efficiently travel throughout the property.

Q:How did your employees travel throughout the nursery before you implemented Segway PTs?
A:  Our employees walked the facility and it was very time consuming to get from Point A to Point B.

Q:  How many hours per day do you use the PTs? 
A:  The garden center is open Monday through Saturday. We use the PTs every day for 8 to 10 hours per day.

Q:  Specifically how has the Segway PT benefitted your business?
A:  PTs can travel up to 12.5 mph/20 kph. They allow employees to cover more ground at a quicker rate, which is key to productivity in a large facility.

Q:  In your opinion, how much more productive is your staff using Segway PTs?
A:  I can confidently say that my staff is 50% to 60% more productive when using a Segway PT.

Q:  What do you like best about the Segway PT?
A:  There are so many benefits to using PTs. They improve the visibility and productivity of our employees. They offer a small footprint and a true zero turning radius, which make them incredibly maneuverable. In addition, PTs are green, quiet and very inexpensive to operate.




Patrolling Botany Town Centre with FIRST Security

This four year old Segway i2 Patroller model with White reflective shields is currently deployed at Botany Town Centre, Auckland (New Zealand).

FIRST Security is New Zealand’s leading deployer of Segway Patrollers.

Botany Town Centre (Auckland) is one of many sites where FIRST’s security guards are more effective and more productive thanks to the Segway Patroller. Sylvia Park Shopping Centre, Bayfair Shopping Centre, the University of Canterbury, Coca-Cola Bottlers, DB Breweries and Nestle are all locations where Segway Patrollers have been deployed by FIRST Security since 2006.

The two Segway Patroller models have been designed specifically to meet the needs of policing and public safety.

Worldwide, more than 1,500 Police and public safety sites use Segway Patrollers. For example, according to The Telegraph, in Forsyth, Macon (Georgia, USA) even the Police Chief is often seen out and about on a Segway Patroller, spending time on the streets around City Hall interacting with the public in ways that officers on foot or in cars simply cannot do. An officer on a Segway Patroller can also work in new, more effective way:

Earlier this week, Forsyth police officer Derek Bray demonstrated how he can check all the doors and windows of a business in about 15 seconds without ever stepping off the Segway. To help prevent burglaries, officers working at night check for unlocked doors and open windows in the business district.

Before the department bought the Segway PTs, Bray said, police would just shine a flashlight at doorways from the car, not actually try doors.

“Now you can check the same area in a quarter of the time,” he said. “And a couple times a night, you’ll find doors or windows open.”

[T]hey are also helpful when police want to be invisible, as when officers sneak up on people breaking the law on Lovers Lane. Bray noted that Segways are silent, smaller than a patrol car and can move….faster than an officer on foot. And the driver can keep his hands free to grab a flashlight [or] cell phone…if needed, Corley said.

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