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12 Things You Can Do On A Segway

Early on, Segways developed a reputation for being useless and nerdy, but in the last few years people have found plenty of things you can do with, or on, a segway. The personal transporters are becoming more popular as gas prices rise and more uses are found. Keep in mind, these are things you can do if you have the skill and the balance to ride a Segway as they are made to be ridden.

1. Play Polo

Segway Polo is just like regular polo, except the players ride Segways instead of horses. The first organized match was in 2004, and now the game is played worldwide, overseen by the International Segway Polo Association. The international championship tournament is called the Woz Challenge Cup (yes, named after Steve Wozniak) and has been held annually since 2006. (image credit: Luiza)

2. Off-Road Sports

Some Segway enthusiasts have used a Segway as an ATV, skateboard, bicycle, skates, or an SUV. How fun is it to go "four-wheelin'" on two wheels?

3. Play Golf

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Spice up your golf game with the Segway X2 Golf! It's a special model with tires that won't hurt the turf and attachments to hold your golf club bag and a scorecard.

4. Urban Sightseeing

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Sightseeing can be tiring and hard on the feet. That's why so many cities and historical areas offer Segway guided tours. From Anchorage to Zurich, you can find a Segway tour that allows you to see the sights close up without wearing yourself out. (image credit: iluvcocacola)

5. Build a Wheelchair

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Spanish designer Josep Mora took a Segway, added a seat, a kick stand, a folding handlebar, and ramp. The result is a motorized wheelchair (which is not endorsed by Segway). See a video of the chair in action.

6. Make an Arrest

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Long Beach, New York police officer Jose Miguez gave chase to a stolen Mercedes while on a Segway. At 12 mph, he couldn't keep up with a car, but he kept the vehicle in sight until the teenagers who stole it abandoned the car as it crashed. It was easy to catch up with the perpetrators when they were on foot. Many police forces and security departments are finding that Segways save them money in many ways. Outfit a police department with Segways and you'll find you can cover more area with fewer officers walking the beat. Replacing just a few police cars with segways saves money on gasoline, maintenance, insurance, and parking space. But most importantly, many law enforcement units purchase Segways with Homeland Security grants, so the initial outlay is practically zero.

7. Deliver Pizza

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The owner of Nonni's Italian Eatery in Concord, New Hampshire is battling the high price of gasoline by delivering pizzas via Segway. Mathew Mitnitsky modified the Segway to hold pizzas. He says it saves "a ton of money."

8. Race!

200segwayllc.jpgThe Segway Challenge is an obstacle course race for Segways. It's  part of Gen Con Indy, a gamer convention in Indianapolis. They hold open rides for those who want to try it out, and a tournament to see who is the best Segway rider of all. The next Gen Con Indy will be August 13-16, 2009.

9. Walk Your Daughter Down the Aisle

200dicksonwedding.jpgBruce Dickson has a neuromuscular disability that makes walking difficult. He traded in a wheelchair for a Segway to get him where he needs to go. His favorite Segway memory is his daughter's wedding, in which he was able to escort her to the altar on his Segway. Dickson was concerned that he would roll over her dress and tear it, or somehow draw attention away from the bride, but the outdoor wedding came off perfectly. He has also used a Segway for fishing, dancing, and at work.  Dickson is a lawyer in Washington, DC, a city where Segways are more popular than other places, possibly because of the wide sidewalks and long distances to cover.

10. Take a Road Trip

You could ride a Segway long distances, like across the continent, but at a maximum of 12 mph, it would take a long time. 100 days, to be exact, as Hunter Weeks and Josh Caldwell found out when they traveled from Seattle to Boston on Segways. They quit their jobs for the project, a luxury you probably can't afford. But you can enjoy their adventure vicariously by watching the movie 10 MPH. The film is here in its entirety, 93 minutes.

11. Dance

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I don't know the story behind this picture of a Segway ballet, but it looks like fun! (image credit: gunnyrat)

12. Make Friends

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Tens of thousands of people have purchased Segways since they went on sale in 2002. More people are turning to Segways as gas prices rise. But those people are spread far and wide. So they meet online at Segway Social, a social networking site for Segway owners. At Segway Social, you can share Segway stories and tips, find a "glide" (a Segway route) map, and meet other "gliders" in your area. (image credit: Lady Madonna)

Special thanks to Kathleen Pierce for researching this article.

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Stop Your Snoring and Track Your Sleep With a Wi-Fi Smart Pillow
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REM-Fit

Everyone could use a better night's rest. The CDC says that only 66 percent of American adults get as much sleep as they should, so if you're spending plenty of time in bed but mostly tossing and turning (or trying to block out your partner's snores), it may be time to smarten up your sleep accessories. As TechCrunch reports, the ZEEQ Smart Pillow improves your sleeping schedule in a multitude of ways, whether you're looking to quiet your snores or need a soothing lullaby to rock you to sleep.

After a successful Kickstarter in 2016, the product is now on sale and ready to get you snoozing. If you're a snorer, the pillow has a microphone designed to listen to the sound of your snores and softly vibrate so that you shift positions to a quieter pose. Accelerometers in the pillow let the sleep tracker know how much you're moving around at night, allowing it to record your sleep stages. Then, you can hook the pillow up to your Amazon Echo or Google Home so that you can have your favorite smart assistant read out the pillow's analysis of your sleep quality and snoring levels the next morning.

The pillow is also equipped with eight different wireless speakers that turn it into an extra-personal musical experience. You can listen to soothing music while you fall asleep, either connecting the pillow to your Spotify or Apple Music account on your phone via Bluetooth or using the built-in relaxation programs. You can even use it to listen to podcasts without disturbing your partner. You can set a timer to turn the music off after a certain period so you don't wake up in the middle of the night still listening to Serial.

And when it's time to wake up, the pillow will analyze your movements to wake you during your lightest sleep stage, again keeping the noise of an alarm from disturbing your partner.

The downside? Suddenly your pillow is just another device with a battery that needs to charge. And forget about using it in a place without Wi-Fi.

The ZEEQ Smart Pillow currently costs $200.

[h/t TechCrunch]

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Forget Horns: Some Trains in Japan Bark Like Dogs to Scare Away Deer
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In Japan, growing deer populations are causing friction on the railways. The number of deer hit by trains each year is increasing, so the Railway Technical Research Institute has come up with a novel idea for curbing the problem, according to the BBC. Researchers there are using the sound of barking dogs to scare deer away from danger zones when trains are approaching, preventing train damage, delays, and of course, deer carnage.

It’s not your standard horn. In pilot tests, Japanese researchers have attached speakers that blare out a combination of sounds designed specifically to ward off deer. First, the recording captures the animals’ attention by playing a snorting sound that deer use as an “alarm call” to warn others of danger. Then, the sound of howling dogs drives the deer away from the tracks so the train can pass.

Before this initiative, the problem of deer congregating on train tracks seemed intractable. Despite the best efforts of railways, the animals aren’t deterred by ropes, barriers, flashing lights, or even lion feces meant to repel them. Kintetsu Railway has had some success with ultrasonic waves along its Osaka line, but many rail companies are still struggling to deal with the issue. Deer flock to railroad tracks for the iron filings that pile up on the rails, using the iron as a dietary supplement. (They have also been known to lick chain link fences.)

The new deer-deterring soundtrack is particularly useful because it's relatively low-tech and would be cheap to implement. Unlike the ultrasonic plan, it doesn’t have to be set up in a particular place or require a lot of new equipment. Played through a speaker on the train, it goes wherever the train goes, and can be deployed whenever necessary. One speaker on each train could do the job for a whole railway line.

The researchers found that the recordings they designed could reduce the number of deer sightings near the train tracks by as much as 45 percent during winter nights, which typically see the highest collision rates. According to the BBC, the noises will only be used in unpopulated areas, reducing the possibility that people living near the train tracks will have to endure the sounds of dogs howling every night for the rest of their lives.

Deer aren't the only animals that Japanese railways have sought to protect against the dangers of railroad tracks. In 2015, the Suma Aqualife Park and the West Japan Railway Company teamed up to create tunnels that could serve as safer rail crossings for the turtles that kept getting hit by trains.

[h/t BBC]

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