Cazador's Blog

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Location: Monterey Bay Area, California, United States

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Human transporter

I wonder if there will be traffic jams on the sidewalks? :}

When Dean Kamen unveiled the Segway® Human Transporter (HT) on ABC's Good Morning America, he described the machine as "the world's first self-balancing human transporter." When you look at the machine in motion, you get an idea of what he's talking about. Unlike a car, the Segway only has two wheels—it looks something like an ordinary hand truck—yet it manages to stay upright by itself.
To move forward or backward on the Segway HT, the rider just leans slightly forward or backward. To turn left or right, the rider simply turns the steering grip left or right.
The ability to balance on its own is the most amazing thing about the Segway HT, and it is the key to its operation. To understand how this system works, it helps to consider Kamen's model for the device—the human body.
If you stand up and lean forward, so that you are out of balance, you probably won't fall on your face. Your brain knows you are out of balance, because fluid in your inner ear shifts, so it triggers you to put your leg forward and stop the fall. If you keep leaning forward, your brain will keep putting your legs forward to keep you upright. Instead of falling, you walk forward, one step at a time.
The Segway HT does pretty much the same thing, except it has wheels instead of legs, a motor instead of muscles, a collection of microprocessors instead of a brain and a set of sophisticated tilt sensors instead of an inner-ear balancing system. Like your brain, the Segway knows when you are leaning forward. To maintain balance, it turns the wheels at just the right speed, so you move forward. Segway calls this behavior dynamic stabilization and has patented the unique process that allows the Segway HT to balance on just two wheels.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was thinking of the "the transporter" like in Star Trek! Life will be much more interesting when this technology is availble. I can't wait - I hope it's in my lifetime.


Sunday, July 09, 2006  

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