It doesn’t keep going and going and going

Ben Gardeen

The Segway Human Transporter, a device the College of Engineering has been using to guide freshman tours around campus, has been recalled after it was found low batteries caused the scooters to tip over and injure riders.

The Segway, which was introduced to the public in 2001, is known as the “world’s first self-balancing human transporter.”

The Consumer Product Safety Commission said when the scooters have a low battery they may not have enough power to remain upright, causing the rider to fall.

Iowa State’s Segway Human Transporter will be among those sent in for software updates to fix the problem.

Camille Schroeder, program coordinator for the College of Engineering, compared the battery problem of the Segway to a car that runs out of gas.

“When there is no gas in a car, you run into problems,” Schroeder said.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission announced the recall Sept. 26, after three people reported injuries they received from falling off the scooter after the batteries died and the scooter lost the power to stay upright.

One person required stitches after receiving a head wound from the fall.

About 6,000 of the single-rider, two-wheeled scooters, which can travel up to 12 mph, have been recalled.

Iowa State’s $4,950 Segway will have to be sent back to the manufacturer or be taken to a service center in Chicago for a software upgrade.

The scooter was purchased with money donated to Iowa State. The College of Engineering has been using a Segway Human Transporter to give tours to prospective students and their parents.

Schroeder said she hopes to purchase more Segway Human Transporters if more money is donated.

Loren Zachary, assistant dean of the College of Engineering, considered the official notice of a recall of the Segways an “extreme situation.”

Zachary said the College of Engineering has never had a problem with their Segway — however, he said they never let the battery’s charge fall below 75 percent.

“We have also used it for demonstrating new engineering concepts to kids in kindergarten through eighth grade,” Schroeder said.

The Segway Human Transporter was unveiled in December 2001 by Dean Kamen, an inventor who holds 100 patents for inventions including a stair-climbing wheelchair and the first portable kidney dialysis machine.

— The Associated Press

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