Segways are the next best thing when it comes to showing off your technology in public. The end result though was the creation of “hoverboards” or swagboards as some call them. A device that operates in a similar fashion just without the handlebars that you find in Segways. A Segway patent could see away with the competition though as it looks to ban Hoverboards and other such devices.
The US International Trade Commission (ITC) has accepted a patent complaint that Segway filed in 2014 that is now going to be enforced by a general exclusion order. A general exclusion order is considered the most powerful remedy the ITC can issue, even involving people not directly involved in the complaint.
US Patent No 8,830,048 describes a device with wheels, a drive, and sensors to detect the pitch of the user support among other things. The second claim then carries this on by mentioning the use of a handlebar extending the features previously mentioned.
While the second claim covers the segway, the first claim would effectively cover devices such as the hoverboard which have been received and purchased by the public in far greater quantities than the original Segway.
President Obama has 60 days to accept the exclusion (something that is rarely blocked) and if it is accepted the exclusion order will then need enforcing, blocking imports and sales of anything that would infringe on Segway’s patent.
Trends come and go, from the latest phone to the newest console people often buy and then upgrade their technology a few months later. A few years ago the world was caught in a segway craze, with users riding around work and towns to doing rallies through woodland on the machines, but these were shortly replaced by their handleless “hoverboard” siblings. Sadly as with all crazes and trends, everyone wants a piece of the action. The hoverboard boom has led to more than a few recalls due to dangerous products, and even injuries. With cheap models being created all over the world, a US company decided to fight to protect their product at CES this year, a fight which the Chinese company has now backed out from.
Earlier this year at CES companies was showing off all kinds of technology, but Future Motion had their eye drawn only to one stall. Changzhou First International Trade Co had a stall set up demonstrating their version of Future Motions “hoverboard”. The design features a single wheel located in the middle of the device, as shown in the image above. Future Motion went to court and against no opposition asked the judge to issue a restraining order on the products sales. The hearing lasted a grand total of 7 minutes and at the end, the temporary restraining order was issued resulting in a raid on the booth at CES.
Future Motion has now dropped the case, which was set to be heard on the 19th February. Changzhou isn’t too happy though and is looking to recover the legal fees it’s had to pay to its lawyers. Their lawyer has released a statement saying that the “sole purpose of FM [Future Motion]’s TRO was to deprive its chief competitor Changzhou of its lawful right to display Changzhou’s Trotter product at the Consumer Electronics show (CES)”.
This definitely looks bad for Future Motion, who seem to have dropped the case in the hopes of it all fading away, with their actions seeming to back Changzhou’s evaluation that it was nothing more than a move to block competition.
For many 2015 is the year of dreams. I mean that because this is the year we all have hoverboards, flying cars and self-tying shoelaces. I am of course referring to the 30th Anniversary of the ever-popular film Back to the Future. This is, of course, inspiring all kinds of attention, from Nike announcing last year that they would release actual self-tying shoelaces and Pepsi are even releasing the future Pepsi bottom seen in the second film. Sadly though if you want to get the third in this trio of items and live in the UK we have bad news for you.
The metropolitan police today tweeted (yes that’s how we get our laws these days), that using a hoverboard on public roads or pavements is actually illegal. The only place you could ride such a device would be on private property with the express permission of the property owner, so for a large majority of the UK that means using a hoverboard to get to work just won’t be possible.
The news only gets worse with this ruling also applying to self-balancing scooters such as segways or the handleless version called a Swagway. As these are motorised and have no license you can’t ride them on the road or the pavement it would seem.
The law that makes this impossible? Section 72 of the Highway Act 1835, that’s right it is 180 years old and is stopping us from driving our hoverboards to work. Even worse if you live in Scotland as it breaches the 181-year section 129(5) of the Roads act.
Apple has managed to create a huge buzz surrounding their hardware launches and fans often flock to stores on the retail release date. Obviously, this isn’t the most practical idea given the huge amount of time queuing outside while shuffling about with a large crowd. Lucy Kelly decided to forego the typical process and adopt the help of a telepresence robot to wait in-line while getting on with her daily routine.
The robot, created by Californian company Double Robotics, revolves around an iPad attached to a Segway-type unit which makes it portable and allows for human interaction via a video link. According to Lucy Kelly, she borrowed one from her workplace and argued:
“We use them for everything, just to show new technology. It is a cool demonstration of what the future of technology will be,”
“I wanted to be one of the first people to have the iPhone 6S, but obviously because of work I can’t spend two days standing in line waiting for a mobile phone,”
“So my boss said ‘Just take the robot down, you’ll still be able to do your work, but you’ll still be waiting in line.'”
Interestingly, it seems like the device was a huge success and other Apple fans felt inclined to give up their place in the queue:
“Everyone thinks it is pretty cool, they were happy to let a robot go ahead,”
So there we have it, a robot waiting in-line to buy an iPhone 6S. Was this an ingenious move to avoid queues or a barmy exercise to get a phone early due to impatience?
Thank you Mashable for providing us with this information.
We’ve seen a host of personal transportation products. From tiny electric bikes to powered skateboards, none of them have ever received the same level of notoriety as the Segway. Well a new device called Hovertrax might just become the Segway 2.0.
The best way to think of the Hovertrax is to look at it as a Segway without the handlebars. It essentially operates in a similar way as the Segway; using gyroscopes and other sensors so you don’t fall flat on your face.
It will travel at a speed of 5 mph for 8 miles on a full charge. It’s largely targeted at indoor use (warehouses, airports), but could be used outdoors if you’re brave enough.
Having been under development for a while (the preview video bellow is from 2013), it went on sale last week at CES for $995.