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Toyota Announces the Winglet, Wannabe Segway Killer

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the strange-marketing-moves dept.

Transportation 227

Various gadget/toy venues are writing about the Toyota Winglet, a diminutive Segway-like personal transporter. (Toyota took over Sony's robot division a year back.) It comes in three sizes and offers about a third the speed and a quarter the range of the Segway; on the upside, it charges in an hour vs. Segway's 10 hours. Wired writes: "The Winglet is the first gadget to duplicate the celebrated, and often mocked, navigation system of the Segway Transporter."

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Early abandoners. (5, Funny)

Snufu (1049644) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454079)

Segway Killer

You can't kill what's already dead.

baby winglet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24454081)

what the hell is the deal with that baby sized one? what are the designers smoking?

Re:baby winglet? (5, Funny)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454353)

That's so kids can become fat and lazy before they're old enough to play videogames and browse slashdot.

Re:baby winglet? (1)

Provocateur (133110) | more than 5 years ago | (#24455455)

Actually those are for the tall guys.

With loooong arms.

Re:baby winglet? (1)

ATL_gadget_grrl (1122351) | more than 5 years ago | (#24455673)

I am thinking those are definitely NOT for guys as one false move would risk removing the family jewels...?

Or you could just oh I don't know (5, Insightful)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454107)

buy a bicycle. As much range as you have energy for, fits almost the same places a segway does, doesn't use gas, cheaper, and get this, is actual exercise. Something most people in the places that can afford one of these things can use more of.

Re:Or you could just oh I don't know (3, Interesting)

Yetihehe (971185) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454127)

With this winglet's 6km/h speed bicycle is also much faster. Also you can have some trunk space on bicycle, take small kid with you...

Re:Or you could just oh I don't know (1)

OriginalArlen (726444) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454527)

...DiY servicing and maintenance, no license needed, cheap spares available everywhere...

Winglet? WingNUT is more like it.

Re:Or you could just oh I don't know (0)

holywarrior21c (933929) | more than 5 years ago | (#24455127)

I suggest that people try one of these bikes. Electric/Gas Motor Bicyles [bikemotor.com]
i wish there will be a good combination of segwey and conventional bike that can easily switch between power sources. I don't need to speed too much when going downward. but i could use some help of machine when i just lack few grams of taurine.

Re:Or you could just oh I don't know (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24454179)

A 10km glide on a Segway gets me to work in half an hour. I can step off and start work right away without worrying about starting the day covered in sweat and having a wrinkled uniform (no showers available).
Also I can work my guts out at a physically demanding job all day, knowing I don't need to spare some energy for a bike ride home.

Re:Or you could just oh I don't know (1)

untaken_name (660789) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454687)

You know, I have observed this principle in action, as well. However, I have taken it to a whole new level. You see, I got a car. It gets me to work faster than the Segway, PLUS it's resistant to the elements AND it has A/C.

I know, it's a new concept...but stay with me here, people.... drive to work.

Re:Or you could just oh I don't know (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454719)

Unlike a segway, a car requires considerable parking space, maintenance, gas, etc.

For the money and distance, depending on climate, for this person a motorcycle may be in order. Something small and cheap like the Honda Rebel retails only for 3K which is cheaper/comparable to a segway:
http://powersports.honda.com/motorcycles/cruiser_standard/model.asp?ModelName=Rebel&ModelYear=2008&ModelId=CMX250C8 [honda.com]

Or you could a bigger used one. What's nice about the rebel/night is the small engine size though, it only goes 80, but gets about 65-70mpg and depending on your driving style you could easily hit 80mpg. What more could you want in a mostly city environment?

Of course, if he's happy with the segway -- I ain't going to question it.

Re:Or you could just oh I don't know (1)

untaken_name (660789) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454899)

All true, but I believe that a car offers advantages - mostly related to environmental protection and safety - over any motorcycle. Also, you can't get both women home for the threesome with the motorcycle. (or even ONE with the segway)

Re:Or you could just oh I don't know (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24455035)

The only car that could get you a threesome are cars with only two seats.

Re:Or you could just oh I don't know (4, Insightful)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454729)

You have a physically demanding job, yet cannot show up to work after breaking a sweat? Either your job isn't physically demanding, or you think that sweat is only worth sweating out if you're being paid for it.

And if you haven't got the energy left for a 10km ride on a bicycle at the end of the day, then how on earth do you have the energy to stand on a Segway for an hour?

I call your post BS, and I call your ass tubby.

The "sweaty" excuse against bicycles (1, Flamebait)

DrYak (748999) | more than 5 years ago | (#24455217)

I can step off and start work right away without worrying about starting the day covered in sweat and having a wrinkled uniform (no showers available).

That is the most stupid and lame excuse against using bicycles, that nevertheless I keep hearing the whole time.

This excuse is completely irrelevant because :
1- The amount of sweat you will emit is highly correlated with the amount of training. Of course the first day you will sweat. But after a week, the effort will be almost unnoticeable. Your nice uniform *WON'T* be wrinkled anymore. At all. (unless you have to bike for something like 60km to get to work...)
Disclaimer : I speak of personal experience. I'm not the typical overweight geek.

2- There are these wonderful thing called "electric pedal assist" which can offload a certain part of the pedalling effort to a small electric motor (usually embed inside the back wheel - which fits into a normal bike).
I'm not speaking about a whole electric scooter. But a much simpler system which detects when you pedal and just gives a little extra omph to make the pedalling much more easy and less exhausting and sweat-making. As the system adapts to the demand, it's really a "use it as much as you need and put your own energy to the rest as much as you can" situation. Perfect I you *don't* have the bike training yet and are afraid about being too much sweaty at work.
The whole modification to a classic bike (the back wheel with embed motor + removable battery pack + charging station from mains at home) still costs a fraction of the price of a segway.

Disclaimer : Ok, this isn't something I use. I got well at riding my bike when those became popular so I didn't need them at all. But for the couple of times I tried my friends' it looks nice and offload the effort nicely.

Also I can work my guts out at a physically demanding job all day, knowing I don't need to spare some energy for a bike ride home.

Generally, the two excuses are mutually excluding. If you have a hard physical work, nobody will pay attention if you're already sweaty in the morning and shower should be available.
But generally, those people people having physically demanding jobs aren't those who are the most in need of doing some sport anyway.

But biggest part of the /. crowd, the "lifting my remote-controller-holding-hand away from the keyboard was my biggest effort today" overwighted types would definitely gain something by trying to ride a bike once in a while.

Re:Or you could just oh I don't know (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24454349)

buy a bicycle.

Wrong catagory. Quote: "about a third the speed and a quarter the range of the Segway" In other words: /Walk/. Have no delay for stairs, and no parking hassle whatsoever, Not to mention a health benefit instead of a power waste.

It's nice to see Toyota is playing with tech demostrators, but something more stupid than a Segway? Ouch.

As for either tech being for people who have trouble walking, ask any doctor -- they'll tell you those are the people who need to walk. Kamen was on to something when he was talking about devices that can climb stairs for people who really can't, but we haven't seen anything yet. It's been seven years now? C'mon Dean, hit your second wind and figure it out. That /will/ be amazing.

Re:Or you could just oh I don't know (1, Troll)

sleeponthemic (1253494) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454461)

Dear Sir/Madam,

Thank you for the journey into Fuckingobviousville.

Yours Sincerely

Gob "The Final Countdown" Bluth

Re:Or you could just oh I don't know (1, Troll)

B3ryllium (571199) | more than 5 years ago | (#24455587)

I don't see how this got a "troll" moderation - frankly, if anything, it's a humorously scathing indictment of the fatal flaw in the entire Segway-style transportation industry - people need to get off their ass and walk more.

Also, since Gob Bluth actually *does* ride a Segway, it's even more on-point. If only to show what a self-absorbed twit the character is. :)

Re:Or you could just oh I don't know (1)

master5o1 (1068594) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454821)

I would also like to see how easily a winglet gets up a steep hill/road like some of the ones in Auckland that I frequently bike around.

Yeah, my bike gets up fine with it's 3x9 gears, how easily would a Winglet or segway go?

Example road: Landscape Road, Mt Eden, Auckland, New Zealand [google.com]

Re:Or you could just oh I don't know (1)

boyko.at.netqos (1024767) | more than 5 years ago | (#24455085)

A bike would be perfect for me. I'm only 1.4 miles from work. Well... if it wasn't for the fact that A) The only way to get to work is via a highway., and B) It's a 10% grade to get back from work.

no problem! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24455393)

If it's a 10% downhill gradient going to work for 1.4 miles then.
A. You won't be sweaty by the time you arrive.
B. You'll probably be passing most things on the highway.

Coming back isn't very far, so all you need is some low gears, walk it, or just blag a lift.

Re:Or you could just oh I don't know (1)

Goaway (82658) | more than 5 years ago | (#24455473)

Hereâ(TM)s a look at the models that Toyota will be testing out in the fall at the Central Japan International Airport (Centrair) near Nagoya, and Laguna Gamagori, a seaside resort complex in Aichi Prefecture. Toyota will test the Winglet in shopping crowds in 2009.

Your ride your bike at airports and in shopping crowds?

Re:Or you could just oh I don't know (1)

mishehu (712452) | more than 5 years ago | (#24455711)

I completely agree with the parent. Whatever happened to the idea of USING YOUR OWN TWO FEET? The number 11 bus line is *always* running as long as you have the use of your legs, so use them. When I used to live in the Mid East, I used to walk 7-10 km just because the weather was nice and exercise is good for the body. I still walk a lot, but in Chicago that can be limited by the weather very easily.

I have the distinct feeling that movie Wall-E [imdb.com] was a social commentary on many levels...

Undead, perhaps? (2, Insightful)

gcnaddict (841664) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454111)

More maneuverable, more chic (or at least slightly more stylish), and much more portable...

This seems much more like a resurrection of the concept behind the Segway rather than a Segway killer. I actually want this to take off.

Re:Undead, perhaps? (5, Funny)

j01123 (1147715) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454351)

I actually want this to take off.

So do I, but unfortunately it doesn't have a jet pack, it's just low speed scooter.

Range (1)

Yetihehe (971185) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454113)

I wonder for who is the smallest model. It has a range of 5km. But it's so small I can probably use it to drive from my car to grocery store on opposite side of parking lot. With it's whopping 6km/h speed I will be there faster than my 4km/h walking.

Re:Range (5, Insightful)

j01123 (1147715) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454223)

It has a range of 5km. But it's so small I can probably use it to drive from my car to grocery store on opposite side of parking lot.

This could be the answer to that ubiquitous American dilemma: How can I get from one end of Walmart's parking lot to the other without getting any actual excercise?

Re:Range (1, Interesting)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454369)

Thats not the question. The real question is, "how can I sit on the couch and get somebody to come stuff my pie hole with processed chemical laden food so that I don't miss anything on the boob toob".

The Tivo was only a partial answer. I don't know if anybody saw Wall-E yet so spoiler ahead, but there are people in the future that are fat, live on hyper sleds, and do nothing but watch advertisement-laden tv while stuffing their pie holes with food. I was laughing really hard and the kids did not get it.

You're absolutely dead on though. Not enough people try and ask how they can balance their life to get an adequate amount of exercise.

Re:Range (2, Interesting)

JustOK (667959) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454443)

laughing takes energy

Re:Range (0, Flamebait)

roguetrick (1147853) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454465)

No, the kids got it, they just didn't understand who let that pretentious asshole in the theater.

Re:Range (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454857)

Any 2000AD fans here who remember the bellywheelers from Judge Dredd?

Re:Range (0, Redundant)

penguin_dance (536599) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454501)

Why these SO short! Are they baby Segways or Segways for babies? The tallest is under 4' the shortest is 1.5' These don't look like they'd be sturdy enough for all but the smallest adults. And small children certainly do NOT need anything to carry them everywhere with no exercise. Kids get little enough of that today as it is.

I dunno (4, Funny)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454121)

Toyota's got a lot of catching up to do - the Segway has already taken the world by storm.

Re:I dunno (4, Funny)

j01123 (1147715) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454187)

Toyota's got a lot of catching up to do - the Segway has already taken the world by storm.

I can hardly remember life before the Segway [theonion.com] .

Re:I dunno (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454265)

And I would never consider living outside of one of the many cities designed around the Segway.

Re:I dunno (1)

janrinok (846318) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454399)

And I was just going to ask "WTF is a Segway", because they've not taken this part of the world by storm. Or did you mean the world according to most Americans? In fact, other than on the TV news, I've never actually seen a Segway, and I have travelled quite extensively.

Re:I dunno (1)

bencoder (1197139) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454651)

woosh :P

your experience is about the same as everyone else's here I think.

Re:I dunno (1)

janrinok (846318) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454999)

I stand corrected, or at least, more aware. Thank you.

Re:I dunno (1)

Mike89 (1006497) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454683)

He was kidding. I've never even seen one.

Re:I dunno (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24455053)

In Atlanta there's a group of police officers (I think they are, all I've seen them do is ride around in a small group) that ride a Segway. I hadn't seen them until I moved here, either.

Re:I dunno (3, Funny)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 5 years ago | (#24455003)

That was a joke, but we shall see who'll be laughing once the Chinese segway cavalry [justcrusade.org] rolls over your defensive lines.

Re:I dunno (2, Interesting)

Comen (321331) | more than 5 years ago | (#24455491)

Actually, here in Charlotte NC, I recently have been noticing allot of Segways being used by the local police in the downtown area, and also by park security in one of most popular parks.
Laugh if you will, but the older gentleman in the park was actually doing fairly fast laps around the park, and easily covering more area that 2 or 3 people would, even on a bike he would have gotten tired much more quickly and not have been scooting around like this.
The police in the downtown area were in a line of about 8 of them all on Segways, and I saw 1 police officer run down a taxi that happened to run a red light right in front of all 8 Segwayed police officers and watched the rather cool looking police officer (or at least he really thought he was, sun glasses and all) give the taxi driver a good talking too while he balanced with his arms crossed on his POLICE Segway.
I have no idea how long the battery lasts though and if the battery recharges quickly somewhere local, but the version both the police and the park security guys were on were more outdoors looking with off road looking tires etc.
So maybe the Segway has just not taken over the world YET.

Both McCain and Obama, (5, Funny)

Snufu (1049644) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454123)

if elected, pledge to make it their highest priority to fall off one.

May I be the first... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24454133)

to welcome our personal transport assistance robot overlords ridden in a standing position....

Oh, wait - this doesn't really work, does it? A bit like the Daleks. How do they climb stairs? And my capcha is 'pothole'...

Small wheels (2, Insightful)

GoulDuck (626950) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454173)

I would like it to have larger wheels!
I mean, I don't have to take a very big bump in the road to fall with these.

Re:Small wheels (1)

theskunkmonkey (839144) | more than 5 years ago | (#24455191)

This was my thought as well as soon as I saw the photo. This will only be good on really smooth floors like warehouses, airports and malls.

Try riding one of these on a street or sidewalk and the second you hit a small piece of debris that thing is going to reveal it's true name, "The Nutbuster"

Re:Small wheels (1)

GoulDuck (626950) | more than 5 years ago | (#24455249)

I also just thought about curbs. How do the Segway handle these? How big can the curbs be?

Re:Small wheels (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24455371)

How do the Segway handle these?

Suddenly reversing and breaking the driver's nose.

Severely disappointed (5, Funny)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454211)

I was severely disappointed with the Segway. I hear about the "revolution in personal transportation" PR they had going, and I expected one of three things:

* jetpacks
* hovercars / flying cars
* teleporters

And instead, I get a golfcart cut in half with a gyroscope and scooter handlebars added. What a fucking disappointment.

Re:Severely disappointed (1)

Fleeced (585092) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454299)

lol... if the "IT" hype prior to release of segway really had you expecting jetpacks or teleporters, then frankly, you deserved to be disappointed.

Re:Severely disappointed (3, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454371)

PR they had going, and I expected one of three things: * jetpacks * hovercars / flying cars * teleporters

The Jetsons have f*cked everyone's expectations. See, if you watched Flintstones, you weren't disappointed when the bottom rusted out of your car, exposing your feet to raw road.
       

Did you re-think cities? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24454375)

Just curious...

Re:Severely disappointed (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454679)

The funny thing is I was serious... they made such a huge fuss about it on things like the Today show.

I was watching Today when the Segway was introduced. For like two fucking hours (my parents told me about the "revolution" thing) they talked about this mysterious thing. My mind is racing - "hovercraft? It has to be a personal hovercraft. Or a fucking jetpack!"

And then they bring this thing out and my heart sinks. My first thought was "This thing is a joke... right?"

Segways are useful for a segment of the population - the people who can walk but with difficulty and yet do not require crutches / canes - someone with a bad knee, for instance. But it's not quite the revolution I was hoping for. ):

Re:Severely disappointed (1)

mishehu (712452) | more than 5 years ago | (#24455769)

Not to mention a rather high price tag for said golfcart cut in half with a gyroscope and scooter handlebars...

Segway Killer? (2, Informative)

shma (863063) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454219)

Segway was a huge commercial failure and was pretty much DOA. Does it even make sense to call something a "Segway killer"? How do you kill that which has no life? [youtube.com]

Re:Segway Killer? (2, Informative)

that_itch_kid (1155313) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454773)

Maddox already created the ultimate Segway killer: http://maddox.xmission.com/c.cgi?u=segway_more_complicated_than_it_needs_to_be [xmission.com]

So ultimately, you could call it the "Segway killer killer", which translates to "shitty" because nothing is better than anything maddox creates.

Segway killer? (1)

vitalyb (752663) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454225)

The Segway is hardly alive. Maybe more like "Segway-putter-out-of-misery".

There is something to kill? (4, Interesting)

RockClimbingFool (692426) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454233)

I am going to go out on a limb and state that the Segway has almost no real legitimate use.

A bike is way more agile, and is able to cover a much wider assortment of areas.

A bike is able to travel just as fast with little effort, and can travel faster if you want to put that much power into it.

A bike doesn't need batteries.

There are health benefits from this thing called "exercise."

Now if you are talking about a battery powered vehicle that can travel on a road and get you back and forth to work, sign me up. Otherwise its simply a toy.

Re:There is something to kill? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24454295)

I have seen one perfectly valid use of the segway, and having travelled the same area for the same length of time, agree it would be worthwhile: Large Conventions. Seriously. If you have a convention you're going to be at for 12+ hours out of a day, spanning anywhere from a quarter to 2 miles (think fairgrounds perhaps here) then being able to hang a ride on a device like that could be a godsend for your legs (when I was doing it on foot I barely had enough energy left to either walk the half mile back to my hotel, or worse yet the half mile to my car followed by a commute out of town to my hotel.) For things like that it makes perfect sense. And according to the guy I talked to who had one, it used basically no power while idle, so if you plan out your route through the convention center well, you can spend all day there and only use perhaps 3/4 of your charge. Furthermore there ARE people with knee and hip injuries who it would help feel less bad about their condition that running around on canes/crutches/wheelchairs. Look I'm hip I've got a segway. It's not that I can't walk, I'm just too cool to do it! :)

Just my 2 cents.

Re:There is something to kill? (2, Insightful)

kamochan (883582) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454419)

And large airports. The airport crew in some European airports use Segways for getting to and fro. IMHO works better than the golf-carts they used to use (and still use for lugging stuff and disabled people around).

Re:There is something to kill? (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454745)

Well yeah... it works better for crews that need to get around fast but do not need to carry a lot of cargo (security and whatnot). The only downside is if someone whips out a pistol and shoots at you, you'll have cover for your ankles and that's about it. At least you can hide behind a golf cart. (;

Re:There is something to kill? (5, Insightful)

neuromanc3r (1119631) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454559)

Seriously. If you have a convention you're going to be at for 12+ hours out of a day, spanning anywhere from a quarter to 2 miles (think fairgrounds perhaps here) then being able to hang a ride on a device like that could be a godsend for your legs (when I was doing it on foot I barely had enough energy left to either walk the half mile back to my hotel, or worse yet the half mile to my car followed by a commute out of town to my hotel.)

No offense, but if you have trouble walking 2 miles in a couple of hours, you should probably use every opportunity to get some exercise.

Your point about Segways being a kind of hipper wheelchair makes sense, though.

Re:There is something to kill? (4, Informative)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454685)

I don't think you've ever been to any sort of themed fan convention. Walk 2 miles and stand up for approximately 12 hours, with a 5 minute break every hour. I'd love to see how you fare.

No matter how strong you are or how much endurance you have, standing/walking around at a con for that long is going to take a toll on you.

Re:There is something to kill? (2, Insightful)

neuromanc3r (1119631) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454737)

I'm not saying that it isn't exhausting, but I don't think that walking is the problem here, standing is. In fact, when I have to stand for a long time, I'm pretty happy when I can walk around for a while (and definitely would not pass on this chance so I can stand on a vehicle instead).

Re:There is something to kill? (2, Informative)

supermank17 (923993) | more than 5 years ago | (#24455819)

I have to disagree here. Standing on your feet all day, and traversing the length of a convention multiple times (he said spanning a quarter to two miles) will really wear you out. Its a whole different ball game than running a marathon (which I've also done). You may not be as physically exhausted at the end, but you'll still be tired, and have sore feet/legs.
That said, I think the real value of a Segway at a convention would be for people like event coordinators, whose job is to rush from one end of the grounds to the other every 5 minutes. The Segway does have some uses, its just that most are niche uses.

Re:There is something to kill? (1)

z_gringo (452163) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454471)

They are in use in all the airports here. Also many large shopping malls have security people on segways. Actually, security people are on segways at all sorts of major events.

Paris has tours on segways. Also, I have seen them available in a couple of Spanish cities.

They are hardly dead. It seems like they are in use for more things every day.

Re:There is something to kill? (3, Funny)

untaken_name (660789) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454707)

Paris has tours on segways. Also, I have seen them available in a couple of Spanish cities.

They are hardly dead. It seems like they are in use for more things every day.

Born in America, despised in America, loved in Europe. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
Segway: the David Hasselhoff of personal people movers.

Re:There is something to kill? (1)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 5 years ago | (#24455227)

I am going to go out on a limb and state that the Segway has almost no real legitimate use.

The first cars were pretty useless too. They were just difficult-to-use steam powered locomotives with wheels bolted on. If the Segway and its clones can evolve to become anything halfway decent fifty years from now, then the more power to them.

That being said, aside from the gadget-allure of this smaller Segway-clone, it might be something that's allowed on subway lines. In my neck of the woods, bicycles are not allowed on the subway during rush hours, and even then, they're a pain to get through -- because they don't fit through the smaller subway turn-tables. And these Winglets, based on the videos I saw on TV, they seem like they might fit through them. The main problem is that they're just too slow right now, hopefully they can resolve this issue and bump up their speed by next year.

Helpful to use at big stores / warehouses (1, Funny)

dj42 (765300) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454237)

These would be cool at big stores. I hate walking around all the fat sweaty people at walmart to get to the automotive section or something. If I had one of these, I could probably use speed and agility to avoid their odor and plump bodies, or just run them down by attaching spikes to the front.

Re:Helpful to use at big stores / warehouses (1)

nominanuda (786275) | more than 5 years ago | (#24455553)

ah, but everyone would have them. Presumably the extra weight on the fat people would just slow them down proportionately and you'd have the same dilemma. But maybe if the fat people started using them to get everywhere, their weight would balloon to the point that they'd break their little toys and be left like beached whales in the electronics department.

Useless (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24454245)

offers about a third the speed and a quarter the range of the Segway

IOW, it's twelve times as useless!

segways (1)

ya really (1257084) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454309)

It doesnt exactly take much to kill something that was barely alive anyways (mostly just have to pull out the plug from the resperator). There's also geeks out there who have put together their own segways [tlb.org] for far less than what the actual company wants. IMHO, if I didnt think it looked so douchey to ride one, I'd think it would be pretty awesome to build something like that at home for fun.

From wiki [wikipedia.org] :

When it was launched in December 2001 the annual sales target was 40,000 units, [38] and the company expected to sell 50,000 to 100,000 units in the first 13 months[39]. Segway Inc's investors were optimistic. Inventor Dean Kamen predicted that the Segway "will be to the car what the car was to the horse and buggy"[40] and John Doerr, a venture capitalist who invested in the company,[41] predicted that Segway Inc would be the fastest company to reach $1 billion in sales.[40] In fact only about 30,000 Segways were sold from 2001 to 2007.[41]

Critics point to Segway Inc's silence over its financial performance as an indication that the company is still not profitable, as about $100 million was spent developing the Segway.[40]

Helper (1)

soundguy (415780) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454315)

The color reminds me of Venture Industries' Helper robot.

Perfect Market (2, Interesting)

nebosuke (1012041) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454357)

With its aging population and far more emphasis on walking than driving, Japan is the perfect market for this device.

The lower speed makes it less likely to be a nuisance/danger on the ubiquitous and heavily trafficked sidewalks and walking paths.

Also, even the largest model will fit comfortably on most trains and subway lines, making it useful for shopping/errand runs that include a segment on a mass transit system.

Those two features alone give it a fighting chance.

For the elderly? (1)

edcheevy (1160545) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454363)

Wouldn't this product be a little more useful (than a Segway) for the mobility challenged who don't yet need a wheelchair? I.e. the elderly so often targeted by Japanese robotics, who maybe just need to get around their house or immediate neighborhood?

If they're serious about going after younger folks in malls and airports, probably the most use I'll ever get out of one is from watching a spoof chase scene in an otherwise forgettable comedy movie.

Suitable name (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24454367)

For a Norwegian-speaker this is slightly amusing, our word for Wobble is Vingle, so Winglet sounds like "Wobbled". A bit too honest naming, perhaps ;)

If my suspicions are correct.... (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454381)

It will kill the Segway about the same way other consumer electronics manufactures killed the Walkman when they copied the concept of the personal stereo from Sony.

killed the walkman? (1)

tinkerton (199273) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454605)

I don't get it. The only thing I can see that killed the walkman is the demise of the cassette. Or maybe the introduction of the mp3 player.

AIBO (1)

slashmojo (818930) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454493)

Would be way cooler (and probably safer for the old folks) to make some new bigger aibo to sit on and cruise around.. maybe chase cats too. ;)

Get rid of the vertical column (2, Interesting)

solferino (100959) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454521)

These vertical hold-on-to column on these things should be got rid of. Then the rider can ride like a skateboard.

It reminds me of that scene in Back to the Future X where Michael J. Fox rips the handlebars off the 50's scooter turning it into a rad 80s skateboard. Same needs to be done here.

Re:Get rid of the vertical column (1)

Nazlfrag (1035012) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454955)

Or y'know, you could just buy a skateboard. Faster than this, no batteries required, more portable, cheaper, user serviceable, simply superior in every aspect.

The bar is set a bit low (1)

nfk (570056) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454539)

What do you mean Segway "killer"? Isn't the Segway already in a ditch by the side of the road, bleeding to death?

Ferrari killer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24454567)

"offers about a third the speed and a quarter the range of the Ferrari"

Just to put the boastful claims into context. Sounds a little less impressive.

Needed Feature (2)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454581)

Is this one Bush proof [about.com] ?

What about bicycles (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24454771)

I'd think that a comparatively cheap electric-powered motorized bicycle (targeted at college students and the like) would do a lot better than something dorky-looking like this.

not hard to 'kill' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24454837)

far as we can tell, the segway was doa anyway, due to 'end user incompatibilities'?

Bicycle, because... (not what you expect) (1)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454887)

the compliment I got from my ex-GF; "I like your lean, muscular ass".

Not bad for a bona-fide geek, huh? So just because you dedicated your life to science or engineering, doesn't mean you can't please the ladies. Bicycle, my friends, and your quads arms and posterior will develop! Plus, you'll enjoy your commute. There are few things as enjoyable as the speed and elegance of a bike ride.

Winglet? Ho-ho-ho (1)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 5 years ago | (#24454893)

The Swedish word Vinglet means "Wiggler", "Wobbler" which may be more appropriate than they thought.

Reminds me of Chevrolet Nova halted sales in South America, or, Honda Fitta in Scandinavia...

"Wannabe"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24454995)

It's way more elegant and agile than a Segway, actually.

I'd say it's rather typical. Many things are invented in the US or Europe, but it's the Japanese that bring them to (affordable) perfection for real-life use. See hybrid cars, too.

Damn monopolies (1)

consonant (896763) | more than 5 years ago | (#24455155)

WinGlet? Once again we have a Windows-only manufacturer. This sucks. Sorry Toyota, come back when you have a cross-platform Glet, then we'll talk. Go F/OSS!

Wait, what? Oh...

Segway killer? (4, Funny)

linuxelf (123067) | more than 5 years ago | (#24455157)

I thought the Segway was the Segway killer...

"M" and "S" look really strange (1)

jsveiga (465473) | more than 5 years ago | (#24455181)

Are those real pictures, or just 3D CAD images?

The "handlebars" on "M" and "S" look like they are directly above the wheels and foot plates. On the Segway and on the "L" model, they are positioned ahead of that point. Try to picture someone using the "M" and "S", and the handlebar will be tucked in the rider's stomach if the foot plates are horizontal.

What about the theft issue? (1)

SystemFault (876435) | more than 5 years ago | (#24455207)

I've seen Segways up close and I think they're pretty cool. But what about the possibility of theft when you have to leave your personal transporter parked outside of a store or office? I know that the Segway HT has a somewhat secure system that prevents unauthorized starting, but what about the case of a thief just grabbing the machine and stuffing it into a van for a quick trip to the chop shop? Furthermore, it seems that the smaller transporters mention in the article would be even easier to steal.

no fair (1)

speedtux (1307149) | more than 5 years ago | (#24455365)

Toyota is just trying to cash in on the stunning commercial success of the Segway!

Poor Segway. (1)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 5 years ago | (#24455449)

This to me seems to reflect too common a pattern. An American company comes up with an interesting idea but basically does nothing to update or improve it. As far as I can tell all they did was and add a low battery warning so that people wouldn't fall on their faces. Looking at their site it seems they've also offered options car carrying cargo or golf clubs. That's pretty much it.

And now here comes a Japanese company, taking essentially the same technology, and doing something different and interesting with it.

What I'm curious to see is if the Japanese government allows these things to be used on public roads because they've classified the Segway as a motorcycle, and apparently one of 50cc to 125cc which is unfair. A bike with that kind of displacement is far faster than any Segway could ever hope to be. The conditions put on it make it so that the thing is virtually impossible to ride there. So they've essentially banned it. We'll see if Toyota's models end up suffering from the same restrictions.

Thank god! (3, Informative)

jwiegley (520444) | more than 5 years ago | (#24455467)

A lot of us have been disappointed in the Segway. However, having my PhD in robotics, I've been downright frustrated.

While I would agree that Dean Kamen is "inventive" and very good at marketing, his products are not at all ground breaking in terms of technology. To add insult to injury his products are way over priced.

Robotics has been able to do his Segway balance trick for many decades. "Gee, sense where center of mass has moved and move the support position under it." In fact, we've been able to do a two link version of this problem as well (Think one Segway on top of another except the top segway has no power.)

However, Kamen burns through $150M duplicating the already known and is heralded as the most visionary man on the planet. Puuhleeeease.

His iBot wheelchair is the better of his products (It, by the way only requires the same basic robotics principle as the Segway.) It is slightly more "visionary" on its application and appreciably more sophisticated in its control loops to provide stair climbing abilities. But again... the cost of this beast is $26K. Placing it quite out of reach of most people who need it.

I'm sure somebody who is a better manager at actually manufacturing a product at reasonable costs could knock these off at half the price or less and provide a greater good to the world than Kamen does by having his face plastered all over magazines. But, sadly, they can't can't because of Kamen's patents.

I hope Toyota teaches him a lesson about how to really manufacture and sell a product. But, personally, I think the the entire Segway concept is flawed. A "trick" that is cute to behold but the luster wears off fast enough that people come to their senses before actually buying something they don't really need.

Portable bicycle (1)

dalmiroy2k (768278) | more than 5 years ago | (#24455833)

Good thing that most of us tagged this product as a toy, because it really is.
If you are looking for something green, affordable and healthy to do your moderate daily commute consider getting a portable bicycle.
They are a blast in Europe and with current gas prices we may begin to see more of them in USA.
Really practical if you gotta do only a few miles, live in a large city or public transportation isn't an option.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portable_bicycle [wikipedia.org]

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