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'[OT]: Major transport lemon??'
2002\07\02@163337 by Roman Black

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Has anyone heard more about that silly 2-wheeled
transport thing, the one that doesn't fall over,
that was supposed to "revolutionise trasport as
we know it"??

Has anyone here bought one? Sold their 99% efficient
bicycle to buy one? Or even heard *anything* lately?

Or has it become the high-tech mini-Edsel of the new
millennium?? ;o)
-Roman

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2002\07\02@165731 by A.J. Tufgar

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Roman,
     It's called Ginger and it's made by segway (http://www.segway.com).
Don't waste your money.  :)

Interesting, but gimicky.

Hardly "revolutionary".

Aaron

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2002\07\02@170924 by M. Adam Davis

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The company is only selling to businesses for the first year (or two)
such as the postal service, large warehouse companies, etc.

The first commercial versions are supposed to be available at the end of
this year IIRC.  I'm sure that'll happen after they change the design
(board/chip count shrink, work bugs out, etc).

By that time they ought to have a few different models at different
price points.  Right now 3k sounds like a lot, but if they have a delux
model that costs 10k then 3k will seem like a bargain.

Pay no attention to the marketer behind the curtian!

-Adam

Roman Black wrote:

{Quote hidden}

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2002\07\02@171735 by Dale Botkin

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So far it smells like an excellent way to suck tax money out of the
government.  I'd be surprised if it revolutionizes anything other than a
few people's cash flow.  Neat toy, but so is my son's electric scooter --
you know, the one that costs 1/6 as much.

Dale
--
"Curiosity is the very basis of education and if you tell me that
curiosity killed the cat, I say only the cat died nobly."
         - Arnold Edinborough


On Wed, 3 Jul 2002, Roman Black wrote:

{Quote hidden}

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2002\07\02@173357 by Harold M Hallikainen

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       The little electric scooters are pretty neat. I pass one every day as I
bicycle home from work...

Harold

On Tue, 2 Jul 2002 16:15:46 -0500 Dale Botkin <spam_OUTdaleTakeThisOuTspamBOTKIN.ORG> writes:
> So far it smells like an excellent way to suck tax money out of the
> government.  I'd be surprised if it revolutionizes anything other
> than a
> few people's cash flow.  Neat toy, but so is my son's electric
> scooter --
> you know, the one that costs 1/6 as much.
>

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2002\07\02@173611 by Brendan Moran

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----- Original Message -----
From: "Dale Botkin" <.....daleKILLspamspam@spam@BOTKIN.ORG>
To: <PICLISTspamKILLspamMITVMA.MIT.EDU>
Sent: Tuesday, July 02, 2002 2:15 PM
Subject: Re: [OT]: Major transport lemon??


> So far it smells like an excellent way to suck tax money out of the
> government.  I'd be surprised if it revolutionizes anything other than a
> few people's cash flow.  Neat toy

Hey, isn't this the one that could climb stairs?  But anyways, I just think
that this "transport device" is simply another vehicle (pardon the pun) for
america to get fatter.  You'll notice, though, that all the videos for
segways have thin people on their scooter type things.  My bet is that
anyone who begins to use a segway where they would have walked is about to
experience an increase in either their time spent at the gym, or a decrease
in their *chuckels* "performace to weight ratio".

My conclusion is that anyone who can afford a segway has too much money for
their own good.  (Before I offend anyone, my use of "you" in the following
sentence is directed at no one in particular other than the possible person
postulated in the previous sentence *whew that's alot of 'p's*) If you're
going to buy something like that, why not buy a bike, or a normal foot
scooter, or something like that and either save the rest or donate it to
charity since you obviously don't want the money if you're going to spend it
on something like a segway.

[snip]

--Brendan

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2002\07\02@204953 by ards, Justin P

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I think there was a big OT discussion about these on the list but I never
got to see one.

Justin

-----Original Message-----
From: Roman Black [.....fastvidKILLspamspam.....EZY.NET.AU]
Sent: Wednesday, 3 July 2002 04:31
To: EraseMEPICLISTspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTMITVMA.MIT.EDU
Subject: [OT]: Major transport lemon??


Has anyone heard more about that silly 2-wheeled
transport thing, the one that doesn't fall over,
that was supposed to "revolutionise trasport as
we know it"??

Has anyone here bought one? Sold their 99% efficient
bicycle to buy one? Or even heard *anything* lately?

Or has it become the high-tech mini-Edsel of the new
millennium?? ;o)
-Roman

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2002\07\02@225008 by John Pfaff

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Niles had one on Frasier a while back :)


----- Original Message -----
From: "Richards, Justin P" <Justin.Richardsspamspam_OUTTEAM.TELSTRA.COM>
To: <@spam@PICLISTKILLspamspamMITVMA.MIT.EDU>
Sent: Tuesday, July 02, 2002 8:48 PM
Subject: Re: [OT]: Major transport lemon??


> I think there was a big OT discussion about these on the list but I never
> got to see one.
>
> Justin
>
> {Original Message removed}

2002\07\02@233515 by Richard Sloan

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Just saw that re-run tonight!

Segway.....

>>  Niles had one on Frasier a while back :)


>>  ----- Original Message -----
>>  From: "Richards, Justin P" <KILLspamJustin.RichardsKILLspamspamTEAM.TELSTRA.COM>
>>  To: <RemoveMEPICLISTTakeThisOuTspamMITVMA.MIT.EDU>
>>  Sent: Tuesday, July 02, 2002 8:48 PM
>>  Subject: Re: [OT]: Major transport lemon??


>>  > I think there was a big OT discussion about these on the list but I
>>  never
>>  > got to see one.
>>  >
>>  > Justin
>>  >
>>  > {Original Message removed}

2002\07\03@151336 by Peter L. Peres

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> New scooter.

Did I get it right that these things have a collision detector ? If so,
what would jam it ? ;-)

Peter

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2002\07\03@153226 by A.J. Tufgar

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Duct tape.... So many uses including annoying rich people, by disabling
thier new fangdangled scooters.  Why just one role could tape up
thousands of scooter sensors!  :)

(no offence meant to anyone that might have wasted thier money on one,
but humans do have legs for a reason)

>> New scooter.
>
>Did I get it right that these things have a collision detector ? If so,
>what would jam it ? ;-)
>
>Peter
>
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2002\07\03@154522 by Hazelwood Lyle

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Ahh, say what you will, but I look forward to devices like this one.
I have a bad hip that severely limits my distance when walking.
Last year my wife and I did our honeymoon in Las Vegas. There is
just no way to avoid long walks in this town. Just getting somewhere
within a hotel means walking through the casino, usually to the opposite
side of where you entered.

I survived the honeymoon, but it would have been a MUCH more pleasant
experience if I weren't in constant pain as we made our way around town.

FWIW, I am not rich, neither am I very old. My bad hip doesn't seem to be so tragic as to describe me as handicapped, but it is definetly a limiting factor in how I spend my free time.

In a town like Vegas, where the mobility of the crowd could be beneficial to everybody, I would like to think that a common pool of
these devices were available, and each person could rent a (time
metered)
key that will let me grab one whenever I choose to get around. If I can use it for certain areas inside the casinos, so much the better!

This could be beneficial to the casinos and the customers!

Just my 2 Cents.
Lyle Hazelwood


{Original Message removed}

2002\07\03@173045 by Jim

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I am astounded and shocked at the insensitivity
of an otherwise brilliant technical group.

A *major* development comes along, suitable for use by
those with mobility impairments and it is royally
ridiculed!

I have to assume that everyone here is fully
able to walk, run and carry on like a normal
person.

Were everyone so lucky!

I see HIGH HOPES for this device in the future - my
dear Mom being the recipient of one of these from
her devoted kids one of these days ...

Jim

{Original Message removed}

2002\07\03@183138 by Brendan Moran

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As I made a comment about Segways, I feel I must clarify my views on them,
since they have been misinterpreted.  It took me a while to decide whether
or not to post a reply to this post, but here it is.

> I am astounded and shocked at the insensitivity
> of an otherwise brilliant technical group.
>
> A *major* development comes along, suitable for use by
> those with mobility impairments and it is royally
> ridiculed!

I should note that I fully support automation devices for the impaired,
though in certain malls in my area, the elderly with their electrified
scooters have become a hazard to those who are non-impaired.  There have
been several incidences of hit-and-runs being perpetrated by elderly persons
on their motorized scooters.

I agree that the Segway is a major development.  But only in attitude
detection and negative-feedback attitude control.

I too have several moderately impaired relatives, and I cannot see any of
them wanting to use a Segway.  For a person who finds it easier on his/her
back to be walking than standing (e.g.. my mother), I do not believe that a
Segway would help.

Secondly, the Segway concept depends on balance:  you lean forwards, and the
Segway moves to keep you upright, you lean left and the Segway turns left to
keep you upright.

It has been my impression that as people age, their balance tends to
deteriorate along with their other abilities; walking, for instance.  Based
on this, it seems to me that a Segway would be relatively useless to most
people who's ability to walk has deteriorated.

I honestly had not considered the Segway as being a useful tool for disabled
people, due to the above thoughts.  And, I don't think Segways are being
marketed as such.  IIRC the videos for the Segway, when *I* first saw them,
at least, were being marketed as the next big toy, to follow the bicycle,
which was more efficient, and faster.

All they showed were able-bodied adults in their business suits riding them,
and able-bodied children riding them.  I can almost understand the suit
aspect: you don't want to get your clothes mussed up on the way to work, so
you stad all the way there. But as for the able-bodied children, they should
have been on bikes.

Their videos did not, as I recall include any footage of disabled persons
carrying on upon their Segway.

> I have to assume that everyone here is fully
> able to walk, run and carry on like a normal
> person.
>
> Were everyone so lucky!
>
> I see HIGH HOPES for this device in the future - my
> dear Mom being the recipient of one of these from
> her devoted kids one of these days ...

If one of these would *actually* help your Mom, then so much the better for
her.  It's great when technology can actually help people rather than just
being a useless luxury item, like much technology has become.

{Quote hidden}

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2002\07\03@184431 by A.J. Tufgar

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First sorry if I offended anyone(especially lyle), my intent was to
point out that right now this is a gimick meant only for the well to do.

The truth is the large majority of people with mobilty problems could
not benefiet from this. As you still have to stand on it for extended
periods of time to use.  For instance someone needing a wheelchair, of
course, could not use this.

And of course alot of elderly would benefiet from this device, but you
still have to be somewhat technically adapt to use this device.

I don't see a large disabled niche for this.  But, of course yes some
disabled will benefeit from it.

Aaron

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2002\07\03@185728 by Jim

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  "right now this is a gimick meant only for the
   well to do."

So, too, started the automobile ... and look where they are!

I received a private e-mail on this subject - and
it caused me to think that *this* is only the first
'production version' -

- yet to be introduced and devices with built-in navigation
and hazard avoidance - a version that could truly add mobility
to the mobility impaired!

AI is a field just waiting for a mass-production application
and this could very well be it ...

Jim



{Original Message removed}

2002\07\03@190805 by A.J. Tufgar

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Jim,
   You make a good point, touche.  One reason I'm skeptical is the
price, but like all electronics they're bound to drop.  I don't think
it's quite a fixall either though for the disabled.

Aaron

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2002\07\03@191619 by Lyle Hazelwood

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----- Original Message -----
From: "A.J. Tufgar" <spamBeGonetufgarajspamBeGonespamMUSS.CIS.MCMASTER.CA>
To: <TakeThisOuTPICLISTEraseMEspamspam_OUTMITVMA.MIT.EDU>
Sent: Wednesday, July 03, 2002 3:44 PM
Subject: Re: [OT]: Major transport lemon??


> First sorry if I offended anyone(especially lyle), my intent was to
> point out that right now this is a gimick meant only for the well to do.

I'm not offended, just thought I'd point out something that I
thought would contribute to the collective viewpoint. No
flames intended!
Now if you WANT to offend me, say something nasty about
the Amiga.

>
> The truth is the large majority of people with mobilty problems could
> not benefiet from this. As you still have to stand on it for extended
> periods of time to use.  For instance someone needing a wheelchair, of
> course, could not use this.

Personally, I see a market in places where many people gather and
get around by foot. My earlier example of Vegas, or perhaps a closed
environment like the Disney parks, could open their potential customer
base to include a lot of people who like the idea, but are afraid of their
own ability to get around.
>
> And of course alot of elderly would benefiet from this device, but you
> still have to be somewhat technically adapt to use this device.
>
I consider myself technically adept. Those who have read my source code
may not agree. I don't personally know how difficult and/or dangerous these
devices would be in a public setting. If they don't mix well with pedestrian
traffic, then my own thoughts are wrong. On the other hand, it's a pretty
cool device for a first release, and if it does work well when mixed with
people on foot, perhaps later upgrades can better satisfy those with more
serious handicaps.

> I don't see a large disabled niche for this.  But, of course yes some
> disabled will benefeit from it.
>
Thinking on the _really_ optimistic side, this could be the beginning of
changes in our social structure. We may finally be nearing a time when
the handicapped can interact better with the more mobile persons.
This will take a big change of thinking amongst us all, and also will
require some real advancement in processing and sensor technology.
This is where people like us can come in.
I've read this list long enough to know that there are some very talented
people on this list. When there is good communication, and a clear
declaration of goals, the abilities of this list become the product of the
collective talent here. This is an inspiring thing.

The above is an idealistic view of what MAY be possible. I am not
trying to champion any cause.


I am amazed at the collective knowledge and problem solving ability
of this list. I offer my own thoughts only if I think they may contribute
to the topic at hand.

I have not yet been offended by anything I've seen on this list, with the
possible exception of Hummingbird Ribs. (Just joking Lawrence,
they really sound delicious!)


And for those on the list from America, Have a happy holiday weekend.

Time to find dinner. 8^)

Lyle Hazelwood

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2002\07\03@192716 by Brendan Moran

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> - yet to be introduced and devices with built-in navigation
> and hazard avoidance

[snip]

> AI is a field just waiting for a mass-production application
> and this could very well be it ...

Well, considering that the Blackburn Buccaneer
(http://www.thunder-and-lightnings.co.uk/buccaneer/) had terrain-avoidance
and automatic navigation in 1958, I don't think it's exactly AI caliber
technology.  Avoiding hazards shouldn't be that hard for something with
"three times the proccessing power of a typical PC" (
http://www.howstuffworks.com/ginger2.htm ), if they could do it then before
anyone had built a functional microprocessor, then I think it shouldn't take
much to accomplish now.

That was an aircraft that could fly at treetop height and automatically
avoid upcomming obstacles at high speeds.  In comparison, the Segway's
hazard avoidance should be downright simple .

The Segway and possibilities for it don't seem like AI to me.  Gaak the
predator robot (
http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4444367,00.html ) seems a
lot closer to actual AI, though he doesn't serve any real useful purpose,
he's just an education prop and an AI experiment.

--Brendan

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2002\07\03@200533 by Jim

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   "I don't think it's exactly AI caliber technology. "

Is there something for the blind yet that
can be worn as a cap and gives 'audible
notice' of impending danger as well as
assists in navigation/negotiation of common
obstacles like street crossings and doors?

To my knowledge the only device currently
capable of this is 'dog'.

THAT's the caliber of 'obstacle avoidance' and
navaid I'm talking of.

Simple terrain avoidance/TFR coupled to the
flight controls via a suitable computer
and it's calculation of a Clearance Range
Ahead template is trivial ... been there
and seen that already (worked production
engineering on the Panavia Tornado aircraft's
TFR system) ...

Jim


{Original Message removed}

2002\07\03@235232 by Welch, Ken

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i hope the technology (employed in the Segway) will have the benefits of
generating economies of scale so the key components  (which have been around
for a while but very expensive -- solid state gyro sensors and brushless
servo motors) will make products like the DEKA stair climbing wheelchair
(which would be a major development for the disabled) affordable..

more important that we have the medical breakthru's to render this equipment
obsolete before we get to a real breakthru like a robotic exo-skeleton which
mimics all four limbs

Ken
Honoulu

{Original Message removed}

2002\07\04@035229 by Brendan Moran

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At 07:04 PM 03/07/2002 -0500, you wrote:
>     "I don't think it's exactly AI caliber technology. "
>
>Is there something for the blind yet that
>can be worn as a cap and gives 'audible
>notice' of impending danger as well as
>assists in navigation/negotiation of common
>obstacles like street crossings and doors?
>
>To my knowledge the only device currently
>capable of this is 'dog'.
>
>THAT's the caliber of 'obstacle avoidance' and
>navaid I'm talking of.

That's fair, but I don't think that that's what the Segway's about.

With a small amount of ultrasound sonar and CCD based optical mapping, I
think what you propose would be quite feasible but it would require the
technology that's been built for mobile computing to get enough processing
power to handle the mapping; you'd need a fast P3 to handle everything in
realtime.

I think the first step would be to create a system that could generate a 3D
map of the area in front of the system.  After that, it should be
relatively simple to identify obstacles outside a certain acceptable tolerance.

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2002\07\04@074845 by Alan B. Pearce

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>Is there something for the blind yet that
>can be worn as a cap and gives 'audible
>notice' of impending danger as well as
>assists in navigation/negotiation of common
>obstacles like street crossings and doors?

Well one of the lecturers at University of Canterbury, New Zealand had an
ultrasonic ranging unit for blind people as a pet project back in the
1960/70's. Do not know what became of it.

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2002\07\04@084641 by Russell McMahon

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> I honestly had not considered the Segway as being a useful tool for
disabled
> people, due to the above thoughts.  And, I don't think Segways are being
> marketed as such.


The Segway is a spinoff from his wheelchair which works on the same
principle. It is two wheeled in motion and can transit up and down stairs.
His on stage demo involved him throwing a sandbag to & fro with a standing
person. That takes some confidence in your control loops :-)


           RM

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2002\07\04@105606 by Michael Rigby-Jones

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{Quote hidden}

I saw a UK TV program (Tommorows World possibly) for an electronic cane for
blind persons.  It had multiple ultrasonic sensors mouted at various heights
alaong the length of the cane, and a braile-like interface in the handle
witch solenoid controlled pins.  The person could tell if there was any
obstruction to the front, left and right and how far away it was.  The
person using it praised it highly, although I was thinking that it might not
mix well with a guide dog who probably wouldn't appreciate being blasted
with ultrasonics.

Regards

Mike

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2002\07\04@160418 by hard Prosser

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That would be Professor Kay. I was there at the time (1976 -77) but didn't
directly work on the project,  As I remember, one version had ultrasonic
transducers mounted on glasses frames. It used a swept ultrasonic
frrequency to give an audible distance estimate. Problems were that the
high pitch represented long distance and the low pitch a short distance -
which was intuitively incorrect. Also, there were noticable clicks when the
sweep reached the end of the range - a 10Hz buzz I think which was tiring
to listen to.

There were other versions also - I think a cane was one of them.

I don't know what happened to the idea either.

Richard P




>Is there something for the blind yet that
>can be worn as a cap and gives 'audible
>notice' of impending danger as well as
>assists in navigation/negotiation of common
>obstacles like street crossings and doors?

Well one of the lecturers at University of Canterbury, New Zealand had an
ultrasonic ranging unit for blind people as a pet project back in the
1960/70's. Do not know what became of it.

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2002\07\04@165438 by Peter L. Peres

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On Wed, 3 Jul 2002, Jim wrote:

>    "I don't think it's exactly AI caliber technology. "
>
>Is there something for the blind yet that
>can be worn as a cap and gives 'audible
>notice' of impending danger as well as
>assists in navigation/negotiation of common
>obstacles like street crossings and doors?

Someone was working on a cane with ultrasound and other sensors in it.

>To my knowledge the only device currently
>capable of this is 'dog'.
>
>THAT's the caliber of 'obstacle avoidance' and
>navaid I'm talking of.

Peter

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2002\07\04@174125 by Jinx

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> Is there something for the blind yet that
> can be worn as a cap and gives 'audible

> To my knowledge the only device currently
> capable of this is 'dog'.

You've made dogs into caps ? Monster. Stop watching
Daniel Boone movies, they ain't 'coon skins

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2002\07\04@191945 by Peter L. Peres

picon face
On Wed, 3 Jul 2002, A.J. Tufgar wrote:

>Duct tape.... So many uses including annoying rich people, by disabling
>thier new fangdangled scooters.  Why just one role could tape up
>thousands of scooter sensors!  :)

I meant from a distance. As in when someone is riding it. Makes me really
wonder what supplies the braking torque in that thing. I hope they have
disc brakes in addition to active braking you know.

Peter

>(no offence meant to anyone that might have wasted thier money on one,
>but humans do have legs for a reason)
>
>>> New scooter.
>>
>>Did I get it right that these things have a collision detector ? If so,
>>what would jam it ? ;-)

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