So this is Ginger, the Segway Human Transporter. Check it out in action.
What's cool? Using sophisticated gyros and motors, it mimics a human's sense of balance, so it holds you upright. It senses where you want to go by how you shift your balance on it and it takes you there automatically. I've heard from folks who've ridden it that the feeling is uncanny. And it can move an adult around for a full day non stop on something like 10 cents of electricity. Until Harry Potter brooms become a reality, I suppose it's the closest thing to a machine that moves according to your thoughts.
Amazon.com is buying some for industrial use, so maybe I'll get to ride one in the near future at one of our fulfillment centers. To change the world, I'd have to want to ride this to, say, downtown Seattle to go catch a movie instead of driving my car. I'll have to think about whether that's the case. Where would I park it? How would I carry things? Will they build baskets for this thing?
The consumer model will cost $3000 and go on sale in a year. I can't wait to put one on my Amazon wishlist. I'll start saving now.
I think Dean Kamen is actually more interesting than Ginger. This on Kamen from Time:
A bachelor, Kamen lives near Manchester in a hexagonally shaped, 32,000-sq.-ft. house he designed. Outside, there's a giant wind turbine to generate power and a fully lighted baseball diamond; in the basement, a foundry and a machine shop. Kamen's vehicles include a Hummer, a Porsche and two helicopters--both of which he helped design and one of which he uses to commute to work each day. He also owns an island off the coast of Connecticut. He calls it North Dumpling, and he considers it a sovereign state. It has a flag, a navy, a currency (one bill has the value of pi) and a mutual nonaggression pact with the U.S., signed by Kamen and the first President Bush (as a joke, we think).