Who Invented the Segway?

The history of the Segway attests to Dean Kamen (USA) as its inventor. The two wheeled machine was created by Kamen in 2001 and marketed a year later.



The Segway was also known as Ginger and IT during its development stage. Ginger was in fact a product of the IBOT wheelchair technology that Kamen was working on. The Ginger was developed while Kamen was at the University of Plymouth.

The name was taken from Fred Astaire’s dancing partner, Ginger Rogers. The device was also called Fred Upstairs because it had the ability to move upstairs.

A book called Code Named Ginger led to all sorts of speculation as to what the product actually was. The speculation would run rampant until the Segway was opened to the public in 2001.

A look at the history of the Segway shows that from 2001 to 2006, over 23,000 units had been sold. An official from the company states that as of 2009, over 50,000 units had been sold.


The use of the Segway has been restricted to specialized groups and niches. The vehicle has found acceptance among the police and military which use it to carry various types of equipment. The vehicle has also been used to transport equipment and items to warehouses. It is also used in various industries, factories and
other similar areas.

The vehicle has not found acceptance from the general populace. There are two reasons for it. One is that the price is similar to other vehicles which they are more familiar with. A review of the history of the Segway will show that some people are still uncomfortable about riding a two wheeled self balancing vehicle.


The second is that states have different rules concerning the Segway’s road usage. States have different regulations on the roads and streets where the Segway can be used. Most states recommend that a helmet be worn when riding this vehicle.

Those who have ridden on the Segway say it is best used near ramps and intersections. Today these vehicles are utilized to take people on tours in parks. The Angel Island in San Francisco uses the Segway to take people around. The Segway was also used by the police at the 2008 Olympics.

Other Information

Those studying the history of the Segway should realize that the vehicle has not been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for medical use. The IBOT technology from which the vehicle originated is used to make wheelchairs. But it is unclear if it is applicable to the Segway itself.

There are several models of the Segway available. The Segway 1167 was one of the earliest ones to be produced. The e167 is similar except it offers better balance. The p133 had smaller wheels. However the motors are not as strong as the other models.

The i170 is identical to the i167. The Segway i180 comes in various colors including red, midnight blue and comes with lithium batteries. The XT was developed for recreational activities.

The history of the Segway has just begun. While its’ usage may be limited for now, there is still no telling what it will be utilized for in the coming years.