Archive for November, 2014

10 Segway PTs in Santa Parade [giant Buzzy Bees on PTs]

UPDATED: 30 November 2014

Auckland’s Santa Parade will feature ten Segway Personal Transporters (PTs) this year – more than any other year.

Five are being used by Crackerjack Promotions, organisers of the annual parade. Crackerjack have been hiring Segway PTs from Segway New Zealand for their staff to use in event management roles for many years (search our archives for previous stories).

Five more will be buzzing around with the floats with their riders dressed in giant Buzzy Bee suits (thanks to Mansons). Buzzy Bee is an iconic Kiwi toy, enjoyed by generations of kids.

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According to Wikipedia:

The Buzzy Bee is a popular toy in New Zealand. It resembles a bee with rotating wings that move and make a clicking noise while the toy is pulled along the ground. Possibly based on an earlier American concept,[1] it was designed and first produced in New Zealand in the 1930s, by Maurice Schlesinger.[2] It became popular during the post-war baby boom. Its bright colours and clicking sound call are familiar to many New Zealanders, making it one of the most well-recognised items of Kiwiana. Since this time however, the Buzzy Bee has branched out into various merchandise including books, jigsaws and clothing.

It received a good deal of free promotion with the visit of The Prince and Princess of Wales in 1983 with their infant son, Prince William of Wales, who played with a Buzzy Bee.

UPDATE: Here is a screen shot of coverage by TV3 News (30 Nov 2014) of the giant Buzzy Bee float and one of five Buzzy Bee-suited riders on a Segway PT (plus a glimpse of a second bee, if you look carefully).

BuzzyBeePT

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Leading the charge: NZ’s first Tesla Model S

The electric garage: Tesla Model S, Segway PT, and a pair of Nissan Leafs.

The electric garage: Tesla Model S, Segway PT, and a pair of Nissan Leafs.

Auckland software entrepreneur Steve West has imported the first Tesla Model S electric sports saloon into New Zealand. In fact, his is the first privately owned Model S in all of Australasia, and it arrived direct from a European showroom – purchased as soon as the right-hand-drive version was released to the UK market.

Steve hosted a “Leading the Charge” launch party at his home last weekend, inviting leaders and influencers in the electric vehicle field. TV3 News covered the story in prime time.

Amongst the ~50 attendees were internet entrepreneur and Segway Polo player Seeby Woodhouse, technology and economics writer Rod Oram (another enthusiast of the Segway PT), and Philip Bendall from Segway New Zealand (who visited the Tesla head office and factory in San Carlos, California in 2008, and attended the Sydney unveiling of two not-for-sale Model S’s in August earlier this year – the first Australian customers hope to receive their Model S’s next month).

A lucky few got to be some of the first people in New Zealand to ride in the luxury, all-electric Model S. Afterwards, a ‘fishbowl discussion’ followed, centred around what can be done to speed the adoption of electric cars in this country.

Other electric cars on display included Steve’s other Tesla – the original Roadster, two Nissan Leafs (or is that Leaves?), and a red MX-5 (known as the Miata in USA) that had been converted to EV. Segway Personal Transporters were also available for attendees to ride.

The electrified nose of an EV-converted Mazda MX-5 (known as a Miata in USA)

The electrified nose of an EV-converted Mazda MX-5 (known as a Miata in USA)

Steve exhibited his pride and joy at MIT in Auckland today, displaying the Tesla alongside the Killacycle and Killajoule before they all head off to Christchurch for Evolocity on Sunday 30th at Mike Pero Motorsport Park.

Steve co-founded Serato, the world’s leading DJ software.

Tesla S launch NZ

 

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“Finding a new way” using a Segway PT with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

Dylan Schneider is a young man with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy who uses a Segway Personal Transporter (PT) to get between classrooms at school, around the sports fields with his friends, and down to the beach with his family on weekends.

In our previous article Dylan uses Segway PT to overcome Muscular Dystrophy mobility impairment we excerpted from a newspaper story about just how useful his Segway PT has turned out to be.

This month Dylan is the cover story in InTouch, the magazine of the New Zealand Muscular Dystrophy Association. The editor talks about how Dylan’s family raised money to buy a Segway PT, noting how “…funding was found and the vehicle has and will continue to make a huge difference to Dylan and the Schneider family’s lives.”

Inside, the full article goes on to discuss the support received from CCS Disability Action (one of whom’s staff also uses a Segway PT, who was well aware of just how useful a Segway PT is for people who are mobility impaired) and from Segway NZ. Additional comments include how his occupational therapist and his physiotherapist are “…very impressed with how well Dylan is doing…” now that he has the Segway PT. Dylan has a Segway XT model with off-road tyres, and in the article his mother Debbie remarks “…even the very wet and muddy conditions this winter haven’t stopped them from getting out.” The entire article is available to read for free using the link in the paragraph above.

MDA cover

 

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“New shoes” for Heart of the City Ambassadors’ Segway PTs

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Having the right shoes for the job is pretty important.

Last week Heart of the City got “new shoes” for its pair of Segway i2 Patrollers. The ‘Ambassador’ staff use their Segway Personal Transporters (PTs) on the streets of Auckland’s CBD, greeting tourists and visitors, offering advice and guidance, and handing out free maps. Auckland Police have remarked about the positive contribution the Ambassadors on Segway PTs make towards enhancing public safety in the downtown area.

For most applications the standard Segway i2/i2 SE tyre is the ideal choice, and this is what Heart of the City had been using since late-2010. Because the standard tyre is non-marking it is ideal for indoor and outdoor use, and it offers a comfortable ride and range-per-charge

After conducting a six month trial using a pair of alternative tyres on one of their Segway PTs so comparison data could be gathered, Heart of the City decided to fit both machines with IRC Snow Tyres when new tyres were required. These tyres have a deeper tread and offer improved traction under certain outdoor conditions, and a longer wear period so replacement is less frequent. Typically, the impact on comfort (a slightly firmer ride) and range-per-charge (slightly reduced) with these tyres is minor. These effects become more significant at higher speeds. Because the Ambassadors voluntarily program the maximum speed limit on their Segway PTs to about 10 km/h, the actual impact is insignificant in practice.

The Ambassadors themselves much prefer to be wearing out the rubber of their Segway PT tyres than the leather on their shoes. To date, this pair of Segway PTs have transversed well over 12,000 km around Queen Street, High Street, Custom Street, Quay Street, the ferry and cruise ship wharfs, and along the beautiful Auckland waterfront (see our previous story about how Auckland’s BIG Little City Guides clocked up almost 6,000 km during their first 18 months).

The Segway i2 SE (behind) and Segway x2 SE (front) model Personal Transporters.

The Segway i2 SE (behind) and Segway x2 SE (front) model Personal Transporters.

In most environments where more grip is required customers select the wide-track x2 SE model with its larger, wider, deeply treaded “ATV/quad-bike” tyre and greater ground clearance. This model is also available with Turf tyres (sometimes known as “golf cart tyres”).

But deep in the city it is the Segway i2 SE that is most convenient, and in some instances using an alternative tyre can be “just what the cobbler ordered.”

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US International Trade Commission confirms probe into Chinese infringement of Segway patents

This week the US International Trade Commission (ITC) announced it is beginning an investigation into infringement of patents and copyrights belonging to the makers of the Segway Personal Transporter (PT).

Segway, Inc. and DEKA Research and Development Corporation own a range of key patents that underpin self-balancing personal transporters such as the Segway PT. Earlier this year the parties filed a complaint with the ITC.

Chinese manufacturers have been attempting to profit from the years of investment, effort, ingenuity, research and development by the inventors of the Segway PT by wilfully infringing patents and copyrights, and by manufacturing and selling fakes and copies that perform poorly. Many lack the full suite of redundant systems necessary to ensure safe operation required of a self-balancing transporter intended to carry a person at speed. Use of low-power motors and batteries result in machines that are unable to provide the performance needed to be useful in real-world applications. This is quickly apparent when such designs are put under any kind of sustained load (e.g. riding across cobbled surfaces, going up or down hills, enjoying traveling over rougher terrain, etc).

Companies named in the complaint include:

  • Ninebot
  • FreeGo
  • EcoBoomer
  • RobStep (Robin M1 and M2)

Companies that could be added include Airwheel (S3) and Shenzhen Xingli, because they also produce almost identical copies.

Furthermore, importers, distributors and resellers of these copies in the United States have also been named as liable parties in this complaint.

Segway, Inc.’s response to the ITC announcement suggests legal actions are likely to follow in other parts of the world as well:

“We’re pleased with the ITC’s decision to open an investigation into this matter,” said Rod Keller, President, Segway. “The Segway PT is an iconic American product that is protected by U.S. and foreign patents. We fully intend to protect it against infringement and copying.”

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Kimberley Crossman and Jennifer Ward-Lealand ride Segway PT in new Terry Teo series

Two of New Zealand’s best-loved actresses learned to ride one of our Segway Personal Transporters (PTs) last week.

Kimberley Crossman (best known for playing Sophie McKay on popular soap opera Shortland Street 2007-11) and Jennifer Ward-Lealand (so, so many great appearances across stage, film and TV) rode a Segway i2 in scenes being shot for the new adaption of the book Terry and the Gunrunners, called Terry Teo.

Check out what Kimberley has to say about how much she loves the Segway PT in this video posted to Facebook, entitled “Found my new and only form of transport ‪#‎segwaylife‬ ‪#‎filming‬ ‪#‎TerryTeo‬.”

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With a background in dance, ballet and cheerleading, Kimberley felt at one with the Segway PT in an instant! Moments later, she was cruising up the footpath of a leafy Grey Lynn street….and zooming off into the distance, as if she’d been born with wheels on her feet.

Terry Teo goes to air in 2015, and is set in the present day (hence the presence of a Segway PT).

According to Wikipedia:

Terry and the Gunrunners is a book by New Zealand authors Bob Kerr and Stephen Ballantyne.

The authors created the comic book Terry and the Gunrunners in 1982 as part of a series that also included Terry and the Yodelling Bull (1986) and Terry and the Last Moa (1991).

The comic was a considerable local success, selling over 20,000 copies and eventually the character achieved a cult status as a retro-icon with imagery being used by graphic t-shirt companies.

In 1985 the story became a popular childrens’ television series starring Adrian Bell as Terry Teo. Guest stars included ex-NZ Prime Minister Sir Robert Muldoon. Later that decade it was adapted into a stage show accompanied by the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra.

180px-Terry_and_the_gunrunners

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Magic Broomstick Segway Tours begins “SE” upgrade

Magic Broomstick Tours recently purchased two of the new Segway i2 SE models to add to their fleet of Personal Transporters (PTs).

“Not only have I expanded the number of Segway PTs in time for summer, but I like to keep my fleet as new and modern as possible,” says proprietor Pauline Baker.

“I like the new features of the i2 SE’s, especially the front and rear running lights that improve visibility. The much-lower centre console makes mounting and dismounting easier too,” she adds.

A new Segway i2 SE next to an original i2. Note the lower, cutaway centre console.

One of Magic Broomsticks’ new Segway i2 SE Personal Transporters (left) next to an original i2 (right). Note the redesigned, quick-to-remove LeanSteer Frame and the lower, cutaway centre console for easy mounting.

Magic Broomstick Tours is a popular tourist attraction with visitors to Auckland. Nowhere else in the world can you visit three different volcanoes on a Segway PTs in under an hour! Plus, once you’ve glided effortlessly to the top of the highest (Mt Victoria), you get to enjoy stunning 360 degree views back across Auckland city and its harbour.

Tours depart several times a day from the Devonport Ferry Wharf. For details, visit the new-look Magic Broomstick Segway Tours website. For our previous articles about Magic Broomstick Segway Tours, search our Archives.

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