Choose from Three Options
- $30 for a segway tour for one ($60 value)
- $59 for a segway tour for two ($120 value)
- $117 for a segway tour for four ($240 value)
Segways: Catching Your Balance, 100 Times a Second
Not quite a scooter and not quite a pogo stick, the Segway actually has more in common with the human body. Check out Groupon’s study of the science of staying upright.
On December 3, 2001, when inventor Dean Kamen unveiled the Segway after months of intense speculation, he described the way it worked as if it were magic. “You think forward and then you go forward,” he incanted on ABC’s Good Morning America. “If you think backward, you go backward.” The Segway doesn’t exactly read minds, but the science of how it moves and stays upright has everything to do with how we think—particularly when we walk.
Although our bodies may seem stable when we move, they are actually in a state of perpetual falling. As we lean forward, fluid in our inner ear shifts, which immediately sends a signal to the brain to place a foot down and stop the fall. This concept is also at play within the Segway, which uses a series of gyroscopic sensors to detect subtle shifts in the driver’s balance—whether they lean forward, tilt to the left, or flail their arms as they drive through a suspended sewer pipe. The sensors pass this information to the device’s equivalent of a brain—two circuit boards containing 10 microprocessors—at a rate of 100 messages per second. Software quickly interprets the shift and sends directions to the motors that drive the wheels. No matter how much the driver leans, the Segway always moves forward to prevent the fall—provided its wheels aren’t untied.