The Segway Riddle

Dean Kamen's inventive vehicle failed to change the world. Now he's back for a second act

ASIA KEPKA FOR TIME

Dean Kamen, inventor and founder of DEKA Research & Development Corp., at Segway’s headquarters in Bedford, NH. Around Kamen are Segway employees riding the new Segway “i2”.

Changing the world isn't easy. It's a lesson Dean Kamen, the guy who invented the Segway "personal transporter," has learned the hard way. When he unveiled his self-balancing, battery-powered technological marvel (it seems a sin to call it a scooter) in 2001, Kamen predicted that cities would in the future banish cars from their congested hearts, and wildly popular Segways would fill downtown pavements.

Or maybe not. That scenario isn't even remotely likely today. And Kamen, who chairs Segway's board, has been forced to adjust his vision. "We didn't realize that although technology moves very quickly,...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!