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IT is here.

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In other news, IT has been unveiled. The item said to be "more important than the internet" is indeed a motorized scooter. Traveling up to 12 mph, it's supposed to be the wave of the future, but is really just the newest of a series of 'minimotor' personal transportation devices that have been proposed in the last few decades, such as one person electric microcars and three wheeled sit in scooters.

IT is also vastly overhyped. Amusing to see, though.



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Yes, that machine was over-hyped... just like the hidden vault of Al Capone. It sounds like the title of Wm. Shakespeare's play... "Much Ado About Nothing." I mean... 12 MILES an HOUR?! My second-hand bicycle can out-strip that Tinker-Toy invention!! My home is a good 2 miles from town and I get more speed from my own two legs than that rinky-dink set o' wheels!

The wallaroo turns and bounds away into the darkness.

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I suggest that the inventor of this "revolutionary" product try riding that on the sidewalks of Minneapolis in the winter, then he can tell me just how well it does or doesn't work for the average person. ;)

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Absolutely, for instance, using my own legs, I can

average over 15 miles an hour on inline skates provided I'm not going up a hill. And in anycase I can go for a LOT longer than 12 miles (24 if I stretch a bit). The only folk this is really of use to are those who have some sort of disability where they can still stand but cannot move fast otherwise.. $300 for a great set of skates vs, $8000 for a mediocore vehicle.. I'd rather get a motercycle..

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First, the "hype" wasn't generated by the company. Dean Kamen is certainly a showman, but when buzz was first happening earlier this year it was from other people--Kamen tried to put a damper on it. To quote the man himself:

I never asked for, nor wanted, all of the attention this project received during the past year. In fact, when all of this began in January, we were hoping that the whole subject would fall off the radar screen quickly and quietly. I realize that nothing can live up to someone's imagination. Although Segway HT is not a teleportation device, a hovercraft, or any of the other fanciful suggestions that have been made, we believe that Segway HT is a technological advance in short-term transportation that can change the world for the better. This new technology fills a wide gap in the current transportation continuum and gives us the power to solve many of the problems created by rapidly growing megacities.

And, second, he's right. It will be quite useful in some situations--many of the situations where golf carts are being used by people who aren't golfers, or ones where carts would be useful but too large. People who need to make frequent short trips in quick time, or who are constantly walking as part of their job. There's a reason two of the groups who'll be testing it next year are the Postal Service and the National Park Service.
Come on, folks. No, you can't walk twelve miles an hour and your bike doesn't have nearly the same footprint as a standing person and a zero turning radius. If the idea pans out--and there's no guarantee of failure any more than a guarantee of success--in under a decade there will be equivalent models around $1000 with cargo capacity, different power sources (fuel cells, more than likely), and perhaps some level of programmability.
I don't know if Kamen's vision of this gradually transforming cities has a chance in hell of going anywhere. Guess what? Neither do you. The videophone's been attempted several times since the late '60s, to rounds of derision from people who knew better. The digital computer's been attempted several times, too, going back much farther than the videophone, generally also to rounds of derision from people who knew better--oh, wait. They didn't know better, did they? You're using a digital computer right now to read this! But, hey, that internet thing is just an academic toy, right?
Pardon my return sarcasm, but you people seem to need a dose of what Bush the First memorably referred to as "the vision thing." And I wouldn't have imagined science fiction fans would be deficient in it.

— Chipotle

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Vastly overhyped. (Now, if it had been the South Park version of IT... "Sure beats the airlines!")

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