After 2 years of development, Segway is finally ready to rise from the ashes of disaster with their new Segway Advanced Personal Robot.
Known as Loomo, the Robot/vehicle is already shipping to developers, and soon there a consumer version will be ready to ship.
Loomo is a means of transportation, but once the rider steps off the Segway, it turns into a fully functional assistant, following behind its owner, taking pictures, providing surveillance, and carrying groceries.
Sounds promising… but then again, so did the original Segway
Once lauded by Steve Jobs as being “as big a deal as the PC,” many hyped the hover wagon as a disruptor to the transportation industry — a second coming of the transition from horse and buggy to car, if you will.
But, as Jobs also predicted, too many people got hurt while riding the Segway early on, curbing people’s desire to purchase the overpriced machines.
After a few public mishaps, the Segway was banished to park-tour purgatory, forever boxed-in as a tourist cash grab.
The comeuppance of Segway was a PR dumpster fire
Let’s review things with a little timeline:
- 2001: Segway’s inventor, Dean Kamen, unveiled the Segway, predicting he would sell 50k vehicles in the first year.
- 2002: The Segway debuts on Amazon for just south of $5k, leaving the every-man/woman vastly disinterested.
- 2003: Segway recalls all 6k of the scooters on the market due to rider-injuries (even president George W. Bush was caught eating it during a test drive).
- 2004: Kamen is forced to raise $31m in funds and mortgage the Segway factory after squandering his original funds.
- 2009: Segway is acquired by U.K. businessman James Heselden.
- 2010: Heselden dies in a freak Segway accident.
Oyyy, speaking of segues…
With new “heavy lifting” capabilities and apparently enough “wit and personality” to give Wall-E a run for its money, Loomo might finally be just the added dash of pepper the Segway needs to get people hovering.
That said, it’s essentially a Segway with a robot on it, so, take that as you will.
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