Segways are terrible—and not as easy to ride as you think—but they may have been the Apple Newton to the eventual iPad of personal transporters. A new tranche of compact devices cut out the tiresome daily activity of having to walk small distances.
Cocoa Motors’ WalkCar, which looks a lot like an Apple Magic Trackpad with wheels on it, and the Glidr 2.0 are both vying to carry your body short distances at moderate speeds.
Rather like when Marty McFly ripped the pole of a homemade scooter and invented the skateboard, these personal transporters are cooler and smaller than their predecessors. They’re also considerably cheaper: The cheapest Segway currently costs about $6,500, whereas Cocoa Motors says its transporters will cost about $800 (¥100,000) when they hit Kickstarter in the next few months. The Glidr 2.0 costs $1,000, although knock-offs on Amazon start at about $300.
As the price of personal transporters drops, they’ll likely start popping up everywhere. Come Christmas 2016, they may well be the gift every kid wants to receive, much like Razor scooters before them. Or they could become the next Bluetooth earpiece: a gadget that looks futuristic and cool, but proves to be less useful than traditional alternatives.
But as Cocoa Motors’ video shows, they could actually prove to be useful devices for those with mobility issues (but don’t want to use a wheelchair), or anyone who needs a bit of help moving some heavy objects.
Who knows—if someone figures out how to do tricks on them, everyone will want one. Or perhaps they’ll just end up have a starring role in Paul Blart: Mall Cop 3.