In a nut shell, the Taurus pictured above (designed by Erik Lanuza
) is Segway-on-Steroids. Utilizing the same principle of gyroscopic balance (lean-forward-to-move, etc.), it is a lot sexier, and the design probably takes away a lot of the dorky-stigma that still plaques the original Segway.
And it got me pondering.
The Segway was very intentionally designed (based on the book Code Name Ginger
which catalogs the design/development process) to look:
1) Unlike a transportation
The whole ‘revolutionary’ idea behind Segway was to look unlike a vehicle. If it looked like a vehicle, there’d be problems getting cities to permit it running on sidewalks. People would need licenses to drive/operate them. It’d be a lot less spontaneous to get on a Segway and roll down that sidewalk.
2) Not fast; perhaps to look almost meek, even
If it looked like it’s anything fast, sleek or sporty, everybody would claim it’d endanger (pedestrian) lives. Licenses and helmets become mandatory. The idea is to just portray a very neutral design that doesn’t look like it has untamed power underneath the hood.
3) Occupy minimum footprint
One of the rules-of-thumb in developing the Segway was that it shouldn’t exceed the footprint of a person’s shoulder – thus its current shape, which means that basically anywhere someone can go, the Segway should be able to fit. Office corridors, stairs, alleys, etc.
– Designs like the Taurus above is a lot sexier. I’d love to get on it and zoom around, and be seen on it.
– Designs like the Taurus above, is a lot like a vehicle. It uses Segway-style technology, but it’s way too vehicular to adhere to Segway’s original “Personal Transporter” vision. It’s more like a motorbike.
– Designs like the original Segway, makes people label others using it as dorks, geeks, nerds.
How’d designers approach this tricky problem? Is the original Segway vision of an upright personal transporter that navigates sidewalks and office corridors a lost cause – no matter what you do, there’s no removing of that gloating-geek stigma?
Or is there some way to extract elements of the coolness in design from concepts like Taurus and apply it (in a deft way that defy looking dangerous to city council officials)?