Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Too good to be true

All right...get ready...

This happened on Monday, but I wanted to wait to present it to the world (meaning: you, my loyal audience) until I had photographic evidence to supplement my story. What you see before your awestruck eyes is me. On a Segway.


We were visiting Cleveland State University, idling in a conference room waiting for our tour guide, when Gregg Schoof (the bald guy next to me in the picture), manager of the Fenn College of Engineering, comes gliding into the room and starts doing laps around the table on a Segway like it's perfectly normal to ride one around in an office building. (I think he really enjoys picking jaws up off the floor for his collection each time he does that.) The engineering staff at CSU thought "Hey, we need one of those so that we can be badass!" and bought the second Segway to be sold in Cleveland. Gregg "Aerodynamically Shaped Whippersnapper" Schoof keeps it in his office and uses it whenever he wants, although it officially belongs to the department and is used for a freshman design project.

Anyway, Mr. Schoof kindly let us ride his gentle steed. It was on "slow" mode, so I couldn't get up to supersonic speeds, but I definitely tried. On a Segway, you just lean forward and it starts moving forwards. It's like it reads your mind (almost)!
Schoof mentioned that the battery-life depends on the terrain over which you are gliding. I imagined trying to take a Segway off-roading or mountain climbing...but I don't think that's quite what he meant.

Oh yeah, we also toured a lab at Cleveland State where they are developing a satellite that will be launched this August. The satellite doesn't really do anything special. I'm not sure what the point of that tour was, actually. The (not even close) second coolest part of the visit was the big 3D color printer (MIT has one too). It had just finished printing a piece, so we could look inside and see how the chamber was filled to the brim with dust. To get the piece out you have to do an excavation archaeologist style.

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