Hoverboard really a Segway Ripoff?
Confession here. I’m a huge fan of Dean Kamen, the inventor of the Segway. BTW: He is still alive and the Segway is simply a more public invention. His brother is a pediatrician and Dean invented the insulin pump and a number of medical devices. His low energy water purification system is amazing, the Slingshot.
NPR did a story about the Hoverboard as the hottest toy for Christmas 2015. They did a breathless investigative story about the inception of the hoverboard. You can listen to the NPR Planet Money Podcast number 666 here, yeah, episode 666.
So, spoiler alert. They went to Alibaba.com and started calling the 1,200 manufacturers of hoverboards listed on the site. It was appearing that the idea just materialized over a drunken dinner and they all started building and sharing ideas without concern over patent rights. Entrepreneurial socialism at its best. Then then found a Chinese inventor living in Portland, because he wanted credit for his inventions, who did a Kick Starter in 2013 for the Hovertrax. He never got any real traction with his product. The Shengen companies developed a cheaper way to manufacture. Instead of a gyro motor, they use pressure switches front and back to control forward and backward motion. You provide the gyroscope – if your coordinated.
The big concern is the lack of UAL tested battery packs and charging. Under thousands of Christmas trees this year will be fire bombs, thanks to the creative efficiencies of the Chinese. Isn’t that great?
So, grab your skate board and go have fun! Vote for American ingenuity if you want to be mobile without effort, don’t buy the Chinese knock offs.