Segway - inovation in motion
The drive on Segway is not comparable with anything what you could experience and try. Your first reaction after getting into a platform will be instinctive, so your need will be to lean against something, what would be surely made on whatever subject with two wheels. Anyway, you realize immediately a fact that a machine balances everything instead of you. So, you have the feeling as if you become a prolonged part of your body. Would you try to incline a little ahead or back and you will be very surprised. Everybody of us went through dreams in which he felt of flying. You feel a liberty, excitement and a confidence. You have a feeling that an earth passes below you but you do not touch it. You are gliding. You get a feel of power, speed and a safe and complete control at the same time. All seems to be natural, safe and instinctive. So, this is a drive in Segway PT.
Segway Smart Motion TM – a technology imbued with a science
Whole project is a work of Dean Kamen, creator of unique Segway R Personal Transporter technology, marked as the first self-balanced means of transport in the world. Apart of a car, Segway has two wheels only, in spite of this fact it is able to keep in its upright position on one´s own. This position could cause a feeling of unsteadiness and instability, anyway, your appearance deceives. The rule as well as motion is not secured in a classical way, as in case of motor-cycle – i.e. with gas rotation and a break placed on handlebars. For driving ahead motion or back motion, it is sufficient for a machine that the driver bends forward or bends back (behind). To this movement (motion) corresponds a required speed which could reach 20 kms/hour, so four times quicker as active walk. For your turning to the right or to the left side, it is sufficient to turn the handlebars to the right or to the left. The secret of this technology lies in system of dynamic stabilization, i.e. the ability to balance and stand without leaning, this is really a fantastic characteristics of Segway carriage. In order to understand how the system it is functioning, it is necessary to imagine Kamen´s model, human body, according to which the founder constructed this Segway machine.
If a person is standing upright and inclines forward so that his balance could be lost, he does not probably fall on his face. Anyway, a human brain knows that his porter had not kept on an even keel, as liquid level in his internal ear shifted. This automatic process has, as a consequence, pushing out of leg, in order to prevent the fall. If human body will be further inclining forward, the stability will be secured with further shifting ahead, keeping the body in upright (straight) position. Well, simply said: instead of to fall down, you walk forward by means of step by step.
Segway Segway makes the same, it has wheels instead of human legs, motor substituted muscles and several microprocessors present a brain, set of sophisticated counterbalanced and gyroscopic sensors execute a work of balancing system of internal ear and little brain. Similarly, as human brain, Segway knows that you have inclined forward. In order to keep the balance, the wheels set with exact speed spinning, so you start to go off. This unique principle which keeps this unreal stability on two wheels, is named as dynamic stabilization.
Brain and muscles of Segway
This assistant is ruled by intelligent nest of sensors, mechanical parts, drive as well as control mechanism. In a moment you go on board, five micro-gyroscopic sensors and two accelerometers start to take down changing terrain and position of your body (100x in a second) , so quicker, as the brain is capable to think about. It is hardly to believe but the practice is so. Segway is using a special silicon sensor, measuring angle of deviation from stable position. This type of gyroscopic sensor designs rotation of object according to Koriol effect in a small ruler.
Simply said, Koriol-effect is a rotation of moving subject in relation to other rotating subject. Let´s take an example: an airplane, flying along seeming straight line, turns in fact, because the Earth (Globe) below turns as well...
On microprocessors, the most modern software is running, valuing information from many sensors so, if the risk of attack (fall) was minimal. This program pictures all information regarding stability, coming from gyroscopic sensors and arranges speed of electro-motors, depending on this information. Electro-motors, watered with couple of lithium-ion batteries, are able to rotate with each wheel independently and with different speed.
Segway will become functional solution of traffic in towns in the future. At present, the cars move (according to latest measure tests) with average speed of 15 kms/hour only with starts, producing several times higher emissions as flexible drive. However, in several towns a scepticism prevails, even some prohibitions of traffic of these elegant carriages occurred. There is an argument that these carriages are too slow, and, on the contrary, for a drive along parks and pavements too quick. It is, owing to worse situation in big cities, incomprehensible. In spite of this, Segway addresses - with its wide scale of models offered - the lovers of golf, managers, as well as state and towns´ police members and safety members on airports. This means of transport became very popular thanks to German politicians, they use their movements along long corridors of Reichstag in Berlin.
Segway rent offices you can find in all European capitals. So, we recommend you to try this modern way of transport at least as its acquisition costs are not low, however, as the basic models costs CZK 160.000,- at least.
Text: Jan Chaloupka
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