In a continuing bid to leverage its self-balancing technology and reclaim the personal transportation throne stolen by the ubiquitous hoverboards, Segway has just revealed its latest "fun mobility product"… e-Skates. Essentially two small self-balancing hoverboards, the precarious product is set to be released later this year, offering children – and adults – an entirely new way to injure themselves.
Well over 15 years ago, the classic Segway was touted as the future of personal mobility. While that premonition didn't exactly come to pass, a decent community of enthusiasts kept the product alive. The advent of hoverboards in 2015 spurned the company to redesign its old product for a new generation, and since then we've seen a torrent of different Segway products, from the miniPRO to the bizarre Segway unicycle.
Unsurprisingly, none of these products really set the world on fire but, to Segway's credit, the company isn't stopping its attempts to find that magical product to capture the imagination of the paying public. In its most hoverboard-like attempt to date, we're now being offered the Drift W1 – small, lightweight e-Skates that look incredibly difficult to ride, even by the "experts" in the video.
These aren't the first self-balancing roller-skates to hit the market. Segway has been slightly pipped to the post by Chinese company InMotion, which launched its Hovershoes just last month. At this stage Segway hasn't revealed any particular specs for the Drift W1 but they seem pretty straightforward, with slip-resistant foot mats and the same balancing technology that all these products utilize.
In a press release, seemingly written by an 80-year-old grandparent, Segway suggests the Drift W1, "brings all the fun and coolness you expect from Segway's consumer products line." The company also notes that these e-Skates are, "Perfect for the young generation who dare to stand out and create new trends."
It's hard to imagine these toys doing anything other than expanding kids' potential for receiving a whole new raft of injuries. A recent analysis of emergency room visits across 2015 and 2016 found that an extraordinary 25,854 kids presented to hospitals with injuries sustained from primarily falling off hoverboards.
Pricing for these e-Skates is yet to be revealed. The InMotion Hovershoes will be launched in July at around US$499, but we'd imagine these Segway alternatives would be in the same ballpark, or maybe a bit cheaper than that if the company actually intends anyone to buy them. Not only that – Segway says the Drift W1 are the "first product in its brand-new e-Skates category," so we should probably expect similar products to appear in the future.
But if you're a member of the young generation and keen to start new trends then this may be the footwear for you!
Take a look at the e-Skates in precarious action in the video below.
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