Aardvark Daily aardvark (ard'-vark) a controversial animal with a long probing nose used for sniffing out the facts and stimulating thought and discussion.

NZ's leading source of Net-Industry news and commentary since 1995
Australasia's "New Economy" News And Commentary Site
Headlines | XML feed | Contact | New Sites | Press Bin | Job Centre | News Search | For Sale
Note: This column represents the opinions of the writer and as such, is not represented as fact
Open Source Segway 10 December 2001 Edition
Previous Edition

Million $ Ideas
At last, the contents of Aardvark's "million-dollar ideas" notebook are revealed for all to see!
Click To See
Given the huge critical mass of developers who have jumped onboard the open source software initiative and contributed to the design and development of some great software -- I wonder how long before we see an open source version of Dean Kamen's new scooter, the Segway.

As this Wired story describes, the heart of Segway's stability is an array of solid-state gyroscopes which determine the position of the little vehicle's control column in respect to true vertical.

You might be forgiven for thinking that these solid state gyros are expensive and difficult to source -- perhaps the type of component that would be reserved for expensive avionics or military use -- but they're not.

Need Cutting-Edge Copy?
As NZ's longest-running online commentator, I'm looking for extra syndication opportunities for this daily publication -- or I'm happy to write casual or regular material specifically to order for print or Net-based publications. If you're interested, drop me a line

Thanks to the demand created by the model helicopter community, there are now a wide range of low cost solid state gyros now readily available.

What's more, the "heading hold" variety would make the construction of a rather simple Segway exceedingly simple.

Readers Say
(updated hourly)
  • Patent infringement... - PatentHolder
  • Open Source Segway... - Grant
  • Segway vs bicycle... - Paul
  • Segway... - dwayne
  • Bring on the Bicycle!... - Chris
  • Patent infringement... - Don
  • Have Your Say

    By my reckoning, it would be possible to build a fairly simple open source Segway from readily available components for under NZ$1,000 -- possibly a whole lot less if you don't need much range.

    The high-power, high-efficiency rare-earth motors which have once again been made affordable by the demands of the modelling community would provide excellent drive motors and the high-capacity nicad batteries used in electric model cars would be just one power option.

    Of course once the software hackers got involved, all sorts of dynamics could be added to the simple gyro feedback to provide a far more stable and predictable ride. This could be accomplished through the use of simple, low-cost, single-board microprocessors and a bit of code cutting.

    This then begs the question -- would it be legal?

    Perhaps some patent attorney could enlighten us -- but it's my understanding (mistaken as it might be) that there's little to stop an individual from building a patented device for his/her own use -- it's just illegal to manufacture for others or to exploit for profit.

    How would Dean Kamen feel if tens, or hundreds of thousands of pimply-faced geeks around the globe collaborated to design their own Segway that cost just a tiny fraction of the real thing?

    Of course, before the arrival of the Internet, collaboration on the scale that we currently see in the open source movement was impractical. Slow and expensive telecommunications meant that such activities would have been the domain of the rich and eccentric.

    Do we have another clash between the Net and intellectual property rights looming here?

    Save The Aardvark Fund
    Yes, I have had several donations to the Aardvark fund and I thank those who put their money where their mouse is :-)

    If guilt is gnawing away inside you then there's still time to donate.

    Just drop by and hand over your loot.

    Free News Syndicated From 7amNews.com
    Add it to your own site


    Add Aardvark To Your Own Website!
    Got a moment? Want a little extra fresh content for your own website or page?

    Just add a couple of lines of JavaScript to your pages and you can get a free summary of Aardvark's daily commentary -- automatically updated each and every week-day.

    Aardvark also makes a summary of this daily column available via XML using the RSS format. More details can be found here.

    Contact me if you decide to use either of these feeds and have any problems.

    Did you tell someone else about Aardvark today? If not then do it now!

    There are new Vacancies Last added 2 Oct In The Job Centre

    There are 14 Domain Names for sale

    Security Alerts
    Admins asked to check buggy line printer daemons (AAP - 08/11/2001)

    New vulnerability exposes Excel and PowerPoint macros ZDNet - 29/10/2001)

    Microsoft tightens software security (CNet - 16/08/2001t)

    Code Red Worm A 'Runaway Success' (7amNews - 20/07/2001)

    Virus Alerts
    Hybrid DDoS worm strikes MS servers (ZDNet - 23/11/2001)

    Finaldo worm on the crawl (ZDNet - 09/11/2001)

    Tripple-threat Worm Strikes (Aardvark - 19/09/2001)

    Bookmark This Page Now!


    NZL Sites
    NZ Netguide
    NZ Herald Tech
    PC World NZ
    NZOOM Technology WordWorx

    AUS Sites
    Fairfax IT
    Australian IT
    AFR Tech
    AUS Netguide
    NineMSN Tech
    APC Magazine

    USA Sites
    CNNfn Tech
    Yahoo Tech
    ZDNet Tech
    USA Today Tech
    7am.com SciTech

    UK Sites
    The Register
    BBC SciTech


    The Day's Top News
    Open in New Window = open in new window
    New Zealand

    Open in New Window Treasurer departs InternetNZ council
    The treasurer of InternetNZ, Steven Heath, has resigned in a row over the reappointment of executive director Sue Leader, whose contract runs out on December 14...

    Open in New Window ISPs reject setting up InternetNZ interest group
    InternetNZ will continue to represent the interests of Internet access providers to Government after mooted plans for a new special interest group didn't proceed at an Auckland conference...


    Open in New Window Ginger's Scheme All in the Lean
    Now that the hype has settled, it's time to see what really makes the Segway Human Transporter tick...

    Open in New Window Real Debut: Subscribe If You Can
    The first major-label subscription service is ready for primetime -- or is it? The consumer experience isn't perfect yet...

    Open in New Window Oracle's 'Unbreakable' Boast Attracting Hackers
    Since Oracle Corp. Chief Executive Larry Ellison began boasting that his software was ``unbreakable,'' hackers have taken that as a challenge to try to crack the company's code and the confidence behind its brash marketing effort...

    Open in New Window States Seek New Microsoft Penalties
    Nine states argued Friday for sweeping penalties against Microsoft, among them a stripped-down version of its Windows operating system and Office software that would work with competing operating systems...

    Open in New Window Napster, record industry back in court
    Arguements will focus on how much initiative the song-swapping service can take in order to comply with a court-ordered injunction that it stop trade in copyright-protected music...


    Open in New Window TIO warning: free phones phoney
    The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) has warned consumers to be wary of companies offering free mobile phones in exchange for marketing information...

    Open in New Window Customs admit worm to network
    THE Goner virus invaded computer networks at the Australian Customs Service last week, bringing down email for more than 24 hours...
    Australian IT


    Open in New Window Israelis Confess to Internet Attack
    Four Israeli youths in police custody have admitted to creating and spreading the computer worm ``Goner'' by e-mail to attack hundreds of users around the world, police said Saturday...

    Open in New Window Compaq site exposes customer details
    Compaq has taken its customer tracking site offline today after the Register alerted it to a security issue that left sensitive customers details exposed on an insecure server...
    The Register

    Open in New Window Search Engine Results That Pay Off
    Competition for premium placement on the Web's search engines has spawned an advertising market for paid search listings...

    Open in New Window EC, US To Share Internet Child-Porn Reporting, Databases
    Backed up European Commission funding, nine national hotlines for reporting child pornography on the Internet will automate information sharing in an effort to curb the appearance of the prohibited material on Web sites...

    Open in New Window Managed security: “Backyard operators” prowling
    Australia’s managed security services market has seen a number of “backyard operators” jumping on the bandwagon of late, potentially raising the security risks of customers, according to industry specialists...

    Looking For More News or Information?

    Search WWW Search Aardvark
    Try the Aardvark News Search page or look here.co.nz

    Privacy Policy | Copyright © 2001, Bruce Simpson, free republication rights available on request

    jet engine page