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Segway thinks its Drift W1 electronic wheelie shoes are the future

segway drift w1

The Segway Drift W1 is a futuristic pair of black and white “e-skates” that utilizes the company’s well-known self-balancing technology in a bid to create the next big trend.

“After roller skates, inline skates and other fun mobility products in the past, the next new trend is born in 2018: the e-Skates. The new Segway Drift W1 brings all the fun and coolness you expect from Segway’s consumer products line, combined with the high-quality engineering consumers expect from the Segway brand,” the company says in a press release.

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Additionally, the firm also describes this upcoming gadget as “the first product in its brand-new e-Skates category”, signifying their intent to further develop on this bizarre but intriguing idea.

The Drift W1 is made from high-quality materials, is extremely comfortable, lightweight and easy to carry around, according to Segway. The company also adds that the tires are “designed to improve stability and steering capabilities”.

As much as I love geeky innovations like this, I must admit that I do have a few concerns.

Firstly, as you’ll see in the promotional video, the e-skates have no straps or any real way of fastening your feet to the device, but rather only provides you with slip-resistant foot mats. I guess this makes it easy to jump off of the e-skates if they start losing control, considering Segway’s transportation tech has been known to be rather unpredictable at times (the internet is littered with Segway fail compilations).

But on the other hand, I would imagine that this also severely decreases mobility. You won’t be able to climb stairs or even lift your foot on to the pavement (or any raised surface for that matter), which makes me think that the Drift W1 will probably be more of a gimmick than a practical mode of transportation.

Echoing this concern, you’ll see in the video that the models are only shown riding around on smooth and flat ground surfaces. Will the Drift W1 be able to climb a steep hill? And what happens if you decide to go downhill? Do they have a speed-limit? What’s their breaking power? One welcome addition that caught my eye in the video was a set of coloured lights at the front and back of the e-skates, which I assume will make the users more visible at night. In terms of safety, Segway has assured us that the Drift W1 has been UL and CE certified but I wonder how much they have accounted for human error.

Fortunately, it seems that at least some of our questions will be answered in the coming weeks as “further product specifications and expected availability of the Segway Drift W1 to EMEA markets are expected to be announced soon and may differ by region”.

Segway will debut the Drift W1 e-skates at IFA 2018 in Berlin on 30 August.

Images: Segway

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