TALK OF SELF-BALANCING scooters or ‘hoverboards’ may have dominated the Christmas period, but it’s easy to forget that Segway is still around.
The company, whose products have fallen in popularity, was bought by Chinese company Ninebot back in April, but it’s hoping to recover lost ground by announcing a Segway that’s part transport device, part robot helper.
The Ninebot Segway looks similar to any other self-balancing scooter. It’s a two-wheeled device with no handles and can travel at speeds of up to 18km/h, but when you get off, it can turn into a mini-robot that can help you out.
Ninebot designed the robot Segway in conjunction with Intel using RealSense – a system that includes a 1080p camera, an infrared camera and an infrared laser projector and allows devices to see the world like we would. In this case, it allows the robot to sense its way around a house, recognising both its surroundings and people.
At Intel’s keynote at CES 2016, it showed some of the things the Ninebot robot can do. It can check who is entering a house (if it’s connected with a smart door sensor) and use its camera and sensors to navigate its way around a room. It also records the footage it sees so you can view it in real-time and can follow a person around if they command it.
The robot runs on open platform software meaning developers can come up with their own uses for the robot.
A developer kit will be made available in the second half of this year, but Ninebot didn’t say when a commercial version would be released.