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Segway launches new offering that prevents riders falling like George Bush did

From Paul Blart: Mall Cop to Wall–E and Back to the Future II, movies have made technological methods of moving about – like the Segway – incredibly tempting. But a key reason we're not all off our feet is that we don’t quite know what to do with it, when we manage to stay on that is.
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Technology reporter Jordan Golson points out numerous early adapters of Segway, the likes of American entrepreneur Peter Shankman and Apple’s Steve Wozniak. Former president George Bush can be added to the list.

But complications dented its reputation. Golson explains Shankman’s initial ordeal: “On one block police would tell him to get on the sidewalk, while on another he’d be told to get in the street. Sometimes he was told he couldn’t use it at all.”

Another issue may have been its steering capability. Even the former president couldn’t stay on the Segway long enough – and the company’s owner, James Heselden, “accidentally steered off a 30-foot cliff,” Golson said.

Despite these issues, Shankman maintained the Segway was a fun experience. And changes to the technology have seen it portrayed in a favourable, and somewhat pricey, light. It can now be found as part of tours and have evolved into high-end Silicon Valley perks.

Google, according to Reader’s Digest, offers staff their own custom-detailed version.

If you’re looking for a Segway to please staff – or simply want one of your own – then there’s a new version soon to launch that has everyone talking. Ok, so the “mini” brand branches off into two products, but you get the gist.

For starters, it flaunts a “fool-proof rider detection” system, removing the possibility of falling. This is specifically the case for the Segway miniLITE, which has a maximum speed of 16 km/h and can be steered with a knee control bar. It’s full focus is on avoiding accidents, providing it with wider wheels.

You can go a bit faster with the Segway miniPLUS – “the most exclusive” of the two, the company suggests. “With special features including the ‘Follow Me’ mode, which can be enabled through the remote control, this product is designed not only as a vehicle but doubles as a travel companion.”

Both Segway offerings can also monitor statistics through the company’s Ninebot app. Through it, you can check speed, mileage, battery status and enables users to be updated and connected with other users nearby.

“Our vision is to change the way people travel. We want to make travelling and personal mobility an enjoyable and unique experience as well as simply an environmentally friendly way to get from point A to B,” said Dennis Hardholt, president, Segway Europe B.V.

“By introducing our mini-series, we not only integrate connected transportation and technology into individuals lives, we now offer products for all the family to use on a daily base.”

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Shané Schutte

Shané Schutte is a senior reporter at Real Business, with a particular specialism in employment and business law, human resources, information technology and sales/marketing.

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