Friday, June 18, 2010

"a gloriously over-engineered stand-up scooter"

--- The Economist's description of the Segway, in a profile of Dean Kamen, "Mr Segway's difficult path", Technology Quaterly, June 12th 2010.  Classic Economist.

In context:
The invention for which Mr Kamen is best known is the Segway Transporter, a gloriously over-engineered stand-up scooter that had the misfortune to emerge just after the dotcom crash in 2001, just as the disillusioned technology industry was looking for the next big thing. Before its unveiling, Mr Kamen’s mysterious new invention was the subject of feverish speculation. Steve Jobs of Apple said it was “as big a deal as the PC” and John Doerr, a venture capitalist, mused that it would be “bigger than the internet”. It was, in fact, a rather clever two-wheeled, self-balancing scooter, using technology similar to the iBot. But after all the hype it could not possibly live up to expectations.