Bunch of us took a Segway tour of St. Petersburg today. You rent these things by the hour. For those unfamiliar, this is a 2-wheel device with an electric motor and a bunch of gyroscopes, accelerometers and other technology which enables it to balance and turn in response to basically just shifting your weight. See Segway Web site
. You ride standing upright.
They give you a lesson for about 10 minutes and that's about all it took to get going. After about 30 minutes you feel very secure, and they increase your allowable speed from 6 mph to 12 mph. Another 30 minutes and the darn thing feels like it's part of your body, almost like it's reading your mind. One charge of 8 hours is good for about 25 miles of use.
We covered about 7 miles, maybe a little more. It was a blast. Maneuvering through crowded sidewalks was easy, and on the open areas 12 mph feels pretty brisk. You can tip this thing over, but it would take some serious work to do that -- very stable.
Other than a few very specific situations I don't see where this would be highly useful just yet, but for city touring in nice weather it's a lot of fun. At $5k per unit, it's way above the sweet spot but I wouldn't be surprised to see these things really start to sell in warmer climes once the price gets below maybe $2k or so. Great thing to do for kicks, though.