The Segway Human Transporter

Stupidity Just Got More Efficient


You might remember rumours about a secretive device, code-named “IT” circulating about a year ago. This thing was supposed to revolutionize the world. It would be the biggest invention ever in the history of man, or some crap like that.

Then we found out it was some kind of personal transportation unit. Like a one-person hovercraft or something. Eventually, the name was changed to “Segway,” (presumably because the average person can’t pronounce “segue”) and we got the real story: it’s a self-propelled lawnmover you stand on, without the blades underneath.

Or is that too cynical.

Thanks to my buddy Ang for keeping me up to date on this nonsense. You can read all about this invention here:

Segway Human Transporter Available on Amazon.com

And if you want to see it in action, check out these videos:

High Bandwidth (cable or higher)
Low Bandwidth (56k modem)

(I personally found everybody on these things to look totally ridiculous.)

In the video, the Segway Human Transporter, or “SHT” (am I the only one who sees the collosal incompetence in the naming of this piece of… technology?), is described as “an improvement on walking.” If you can walk there, the SHT will take you there, “more efficiently.”

I have to question the legitimacy of that claim. I think that walking is a darn efficient use of energy. Not only do we replenish our energy stores on a daily basis through eating, but if you believe the stats, most of North America is carrying a few thousand miles of hiking stored as fat. Wouldn’t it be more efficient for us to get off our asses than to use perfectly good electricity to make an already easy, natural task just a teensy-weensy bit easier?

But hey, maybe this thing will help the obese and infirm get around! That would be great! Revolutionary, even! No dice. If you’re over 250 lbs, or have trouble stepping up onto the machine (a problem for many weak or elderly folks), the SHT isn’t made for you. Which makes me wonder who they ARE targeting. Why would fit, able-bodied people, who aren’t clinically insane, be caught dead lazing around on one of these things?

Well, maybe because the SHT is so cheap: only US$4950.00. That’s right, five grand. Plus US$99 shipping. And you can’t even get the thing until you attend a “training” class in a large metropolitan centre, hopefully near you. And then there’s some assembly required. Seriously. It’s a nightmare.

But remember that the SHT wasn’t a small, one-man start up invention, either. GE was partnered. There is some serious science involved here. Gyros that keep you balanced. The smartest batteries in the world. Gears engineered to last and produce noise at frequencies that sound like music. Dozens of super-intelligent minds, several powerful companies, millions of dollars and one gimmicky, publicity stunt of an ad campaign, and all for what?

An improvement on walking.

The inventors of this thing should be tarred and feathered, but instead, we’re going to buy it. Yep. And that blows me away. Nobody is asking for it. But they’ll put it on the market, advertise the life out of it, and we will flock to the stores, like those animals that flock.

Some famous poet once said that he had encountered no problem too great, no stress too vexing, that it couldn’t be improved by going for a walk. I wish I could remember who it was. I, for one, will not be going for a SHT any time soon.

Where did I put my coat?

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