Friday, April 23, 2010

The Segway Glides Into Living Greener

By Sherry Swensk,, April 23, 2010

Many green-living commuters are choosing bikes and electric scooters over gas-guzzling, smog-puking cars these days. But there is another personal mode of transportation that is growing in popularity, especially in recreational areas and the security professions. It’s the Segway. Remember Paul Blart, Mall Cop? He rode one and handled it well, as I recall.

Dick Burke of Segway, Orange County says these funky upright two-wheelers are about as green as you can get, next to people-powered vehicles. They are lithium-ion battery-powered and run up to 25 miles on one charge, at up to 12.5 mph. They operate simply by shifting your weight and perform best on smooth surfaces, like streets and sidewalks (or mall floors). Police officers use them. Tour guides take tourists out sightseeing on them. And even golfers ride them on the course! They do make an off-road model, too for those rugged adventurous Segwayers.

They’re fun, they’re clean green, but they’re not cheap. The price tag runs into the thousands; it’s a serious green investment. If you’d like to check them out and take a test ride, Segway - Orange County will be at the Living Green Expo this weekend, April 24 & 25 at the South Point Hotel-Casino. Come on down and take a whirl. You may get hooked on the first spin!


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Dustbot Comes When You Call It, to Pick Up Your Garbage and Take It Away

By Denise Ngo, Popular Science, April 22, 2010

Recycling is often too bothersome of a task for the average person. Enter Dustbot, an adorable Segway-powered robot that travels from home to home hauling out people's garbage on request. When notified by mobile phone, Dustbot uses GPS and motion sensors to locate the caller's address. Upon Dustbot's arrival, the caller selects the type of garbage he wants to give the robot. Dustbot then carries the trash or recycling to the appropriate location.

Researchers at the Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna CRIM Lab in Pisa, Italy, developed Dustbot as a solution to the inconvenience of garbage trucks that arrive only at fixed times and places. Dustbot not only runs at all hours, whenever your garbage is ready to be picked up, but it can navigate the narrow alleyways prevalent in urban environments. Click on the video above to see the Dustbot and its cohorts-in-cleaning, DustCart and DustClean, in action.

The friendly-looking Dustbot carries 70 pounds of garbage, travels at two miles an hour, and comes equipped with a battery that enables 10 miles of autonomous travel. While the thought of robots roaming around cities may be disconcerting for some, the convenience of on-call recycling could be a dealmaker for people who are tired of seeing their sidewalks littered with unsightly trash bags.

The only thing that would make Dustbot more perfect, once it goes commercial, is if it would also deliver our dry cleaning.

[ieee spectrum]


Leaning toward eco-friendly transportation

By Mary Malahy, Racquet, April 22, 2010

Segways seemed to have taken over Badger Street on April 13 and 14, when Segway of Wisconsin gave students the chance to test drive their eco-friendly mode of transportation on campus.

Dr. Gail Gillis brought Segway of Wisconsin to campus as a treat for her Production and Operations Management class.

“This is just for them to have fun,” Gillis said. “It’s all about the students today.”

As the students zipped down the street in front of Wimberly it was evident that Gillis accomplished her goal for the day.

According to Jennifer Connors Clark, director of sales and marketing for Segway of Wisconsin, Gillis’s students weren’t the only ones who enjoyed the Segways. She said it was amazing how many students were interested and that the classes filled up within an hour of her arrival.

“Segways are a very unique, versatile, green mode of transportation for a single person,” Clark said.

Clark explained that they are green because they do not have any emissions and do not require any fossil fuels. The user simply charges the vehicle and then can ride for 24 miles before charging it again. According to Clark, this is very cost effective because it only costs 25 cents to fully charge a battery.

Segways are convenient for short trips such as going grocery shopping, Clark said. They travel at 12.5 miles per hour and can be driven inside or outside. In Wisconsin it is legal to ride them on sidewalks, so they can be used pretty much anywhere people walk or bike, Clark said.

According to Clark, Segways have become popular with airport staff, police officers and security guards. They are particularly nice for police officers, Clark added. She explained that if someone sees a police officer running down the street he or she knows something is wrong and becomes curious. But if someone sees a police officer gliding down the street on a Segway, they simply think it looks cool.

“It draws the right kind of attention and keeps away the wrong kind,” Clark said.

Segways are also very popular in warehouses or in companies with large campuses, Clark said, because employees are much more efficient if they can travel faster.

According to Gillis, the visit from Segway tied into her class because she is teaching about being environmentally friendly in the business world.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Training Snipers Using Segways

By Adam Frucci, Gizmodo, April 8, 2010

How do you make sniper target practice more helpful and more fun? By shooting at Segway robots, of course.

For the Australian Defense Force's snipers, they enlisted the help of Marathon Robotics to set up a course populated by Segways with dummies on board. The Segways are programmed to wander around a small village aimlessly, and when a sniper picks one of them off, they all scatter automatically.

It's all pretty clever and awesome, really. It makes me want to become a sniper just so I can do this, which feels like a real-life video game. But I won't, because they are practicing so they can get good at shooting real people in the head. I guess I'll just stick with the video games then. [Marathon Robotics via Engadget]

Send an email to Adam Frucci, the author of this post, at


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Segway built for two

By DENIS PAISTE,, March 24, 2010

BEDFORD – Segway joined General Motors on the stage in Shanghai today to unveil a two-passenger, Segway-powered vehicle that can drive itself, turn on a dime and communicate with others like it to avoid collisions.

Bedford-based Segway, along with partners GM and Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. (SAIC), made the announcement this morning in preparation for the six-month-long Shanghai Expo, where the partners will be demonstrating the Segway-based EN-V electric vehicles 30 times a day. The En-V Project

The expo in the teeming Chinese metropolis of 14 million is expected to draw 70 million visitors. GM will have its own pavilion at the global exhibition. The pavilion opens May 1.

Segway's self-balancing, battery-powered drive train was invented by Dean Kamen and unveiled in 2001 with the popular Segway Personal Transport vehicle. The electric, self-balancing Segway PT is a one-person transporter controlled by gyroscopic stabilization and directed by a rider's body movement.

In Shanghai, three different models of the concept two-seater are named Jiao (Pride), Xiao (Laugh) and Miao (Magic). The self-balancing, battery-powered drivetrain systems developed by Segway for Expo demo vehicles can travel up to 25 mph with a range of 25 miles.

A better way?

The new vehicles grew out of Segway's partnership with GM on Project PUMA (Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility), announced last year.

Chris Borroni-Bird, GM's director of Advanced Technology, said EN-V (Electric Network Vehicles) technology aims to create a solution to vehicle exhaust pollution, urban congestion and parking.

Borroni-Bird said five times as many EN-V vehicles can fit into the same parking footprint as one mid-sized car, such as a Chevrolet Malibu.

"Our solution here is a three-legged stool," he said. "It's an electric vehicle, a networked vehicle, a small-footprint vehicle."

The EN-V boasts zero emissions, is highly maneuverable and brakes by itself.

Clay Dean, director of GM Advanced Design, said the body is made from carbon fiber composites and has a front-opening door.

"We see this explosion of design and graphics and texture which allows the designers to do something very unique . . . which sheet metal would never have allowed us to do," Dean said.

Segway was responsible for the drivetrain mechanism that houses all of the motors and sensors that let the vehicle operate.

The coach systems -- the body of the vehicle -- were developed by General Motors and are attached to the mobility platform developed by Segway.

Because of Segway's electric, self-balancing platform, all the power and drive mechanisms reside under a sliding base. That eliminates any need for a dashboard, steering wheel, gas pedal or other traditional automobile components.

FIRST to Segway

Bedford-based Segway spokesman Eric Fleming is in Shanghai for the unveiling this week. Fleming came to Segway through his participation in the Kamen-inspired FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) robotics competition as a high school student in Farmington, Conn.

Segway put everything it learned about self-balancing, battery management and other technologies into the EN-V project, Fleming said.

There are challenges. Too fast for sidewalks, too fragile for highways, the new vehicles may be suited to bicycle paths and yet-to-be-created dedicated travel lanes. They also offer the opportunity to bring greater mobility to the elderly and disabled.

General Motors will jointly manufacture vehicles for sale in the Chinese market with SAIC.


Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Biltmore's 25th Annual Festival of Flowers Will Offer Segway Tours

PRNewswire, March 10, 2010

Celebratory anniversary events across the estate to include music, activities and a new garden audio tour

April 3 - May 16, 2010

ASHEVILLE, N.C. - Gorgeous blooms are in full glory as thousands of tulips welcome springtime during Biltmore's 25th annual Festival of Flowers, April 3 – May 16, 2010. The estate-wide event celebrates the beauty of George Vanderbilt's 8,000-acre property and its original design by Frederick Law Olmsted, father of American landscape architecture. Biltmore's gardens, Olmsted's final and most grand project, are in their 120th year, and are becoming more beautiful as time passes. For the first time, a cell phone audio tour of the gardens offering historical facts as well as more detailed information about plant varieties will also be available.

The 25th anniversary celebration of Festival of Flowers coincides with the grand opening of Antler Hill Village. This pedestrian-friendly venue will be open to guests as part of daily admission to Biltmore and expands current offerings to include a new exhibition space, village green with live entertainment, dining, shopping and a new outdoor adventure center. Biltmore Winery, located in the village area, will also be celebrating its 25th anniversary and will be offering a newly-designed tour and tasting room. Antler Hill Village will be open to guests during Festival of Flowers and a grand opening celebration is planned for May 20 – 23, 2010.

Floral decor this year will focus on the iris, fleur de lis and color silver, all symbolic of the 25th anniversary. Tulips – over 100,000 of them – will mark the beginning of the festival greeting visitors at Biltmore's main entrance and continuing to the stunning colors in the Walled Garden. Guests won't want to miss the vibrant colors in the 20-acre azalea garden and cascades of native and exotic blooms in the natural gardens and along walking trails.

The entrance vestibule at Biltmore House will feature a fresh flower carpet design, and in the Entry Hall, six woven commemorative banners will hang, all designed and woven by local company Manual Woodworkers & Weavers. French influences with designs in blues, purples, soft yellow, soft greens, pink, burgundy and red will grace floral arrangements in Biltmore House.

In honor of the winery's 25th anniversary, the conservatory display will take inspiration from Biltmore's wines with elaborate container gardens planted with beautiful colors and scents to represent selections. During the last half of the festival, the Walled Garden's pattern beds will feature a fleur de lis design.

With so much to celebrate, festivities across the estate will include music, tips from Biltmore gardeners and innovative displays. Biltmore Winery will host live music, wine tastings, seminars and children's activities. Seasonal Festival of Flowers wines are crafted each year to mark the occasion. In addition, Biltmore's restaurants will feature special silver anniversary menus, drinks and desserts.

In addition to Biltmore House and Gardens, estate admission includes entry to Biltmore Winery, Antler Hill Village, specialty gift shops and restaurants. Spring is the perfect time to take advantage of Biltmore's unique surroundings by taking part in the Explore Biltmore program. Outdoor activities include hiking, biking, rafting, kayaking, horseback riding, carriage rides, Segway tours, a sporting clays program and a Land Rover Driving School. Guests looking for accommodations will enjoy the four-star Inn on Biltmore Estate, which provides a variety of packages. For more information or reservations, contact Biltmore at 877.BILTMORE or visit

About Biltmore

Located in Asheville, North Carolina, Biltmore was the vision of George W. Vanderbilt. Designed by Richard Morris Hunt, America's largest home is a 250-room French Renaissance chateau, exhibiting the Vanderbilt family's original collection of furnishings, art and antiques. Biltmore estate encompasses more than 8,000 acres including renowned gardens designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the father of American landscape architecture. Today, Biltmore has grown to include the new Antler Hill Village, which features the award-winning winery and Antler Hill Farm; the four-star Inn on Biltmore Estate; Equestrian Center; numerous restaurants; event and meeting venues and Biltmore For Your Home, the company's licensed products division. To learn more about Biltmore, or book a visit to Biltmore, go to or call 877-BILTMORE.

SOURCE Biltmore


Monday, December 21, 2009

Video: Park & Rec. Using Charlotte Energy Solutions' Segways at Latta Plantation

For more information about Mecklenburg County Parks & Recreation's Segway Adventures click here.

Segway x2's & Segway i2's are available from Charlotte Energy Solutions