While the original Segway seems a distant memory following a Christmas famous for cheap, exploding hoverboards that don’t even hover, the brand is set to make a return in a whole new way.
After being swallowed by Beijing-based Ninebot, the first product to emerge is the Ninebot Segway - a device that’s part transportation, part robot. Yes, you read that correctly.
As a method of transport, it works much like the original Segway, albeit much smaller and without the handlebars. You guide it around by shifting your bodyweight, but the smaller scale means it appears to be much more nimble than previous Segway models.
Things get really interesting when you pull out the arms and turn it into a robot, however. The Ninebot Segway uses Intel’s RealSense technology to sense objects in its surroundings, allowing it to avoid knocking over your delicate pottery as it slowly plans how it will overthrow its human owners.
Speaking of human owners, it will also recognise faces and follow a chosen target around. Additionally, it follows Siri-like voice commands and boasts a livestreaming camera.
There’s no release date for the Ninebot Segway, but it’s part of an ongoing development project that will eventually see the light of day, with a developer's kit due out in the second half of the year. So if you’ve been waiting for a robot with a friendly face - that you can also shove your crotch into on the way to the shops - your prayers should soon be answered.