Company Demonstrates "It" at the Statehouse
02/07/02 12:00AM By Bob Kinzel
(Host) It was standing-room-only in one of the largest conference rooms at the Statehouse on Wednesday as lawmakers, lobbyists and reporters took a spin on a revolutionary new personal transportation machine.
VPR's Bob Kinzel survived his test ride.
(Sound of person giving instructions)
(Kinzel) Visitors to the Statehouse were probably very surprised to see House Speaker Walter Freed zooming through the halls of the building Wednesday, on a machine known as "It."
The formal name for "It" is the Segway Transportation Device. The machine has two wheels, each about a foot in diameter, mounted on a small platform that the rider stands on. A control rod connects a handlebar to the platform. "It" has a top speed of roughly 10 to 15 miles an hour and costs $3,000.
As you stand on the platform, just a slight shifting of your weight moves the machine forwards or backwards. The more you shift your weight, the faster you go. If you want to stop, you stand up straight. A throttle device on the handlebar allows the driver to turn left or right.
Matt Dailida of Segway offers this explanation of how the machine works:
(Dailida) "Based on gyros and computers which measure my weight distribution - just like my inner ear and brain that keep me balanced - the gyros keep the Segway balanced and the operator balanced."
(Kinzel) Dailida told members of the House and Senate Transportation committees that "It" has some practical uses in Vermont:
(Dailida) "Oh I think for commercial base it's enormous: the United States Postal Service, community policing¿. It's a productivity tool for commercial base and also for consumer base."
(Kinzel) The machine also comes with snow tires for use in winter climates.
For Vermont Public Radio I'm Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.