When was the last time you seriously saw kids and adults (OK, mostly adults) on roller or inline skates? While skateboards never truly disappeared and continue to have a sub-culture, skates have mostly gone out of fashion long ago. In the spirit of making old things new again, Segway is announcing the Drift W1, the first, not the only, of its new e-Skates line. Fortunately, they’re not calling it hoverskates this time.
Take a hoverboard, snap it in half, and shrink them down to fit under a shoe. That’s pretty much how you might think of the Drift W1 and no one will blame you. Segway has, after all, been making “electronic personal transportation” devices even before hoverboards started exploding (literally). It will definitely be hard to disassociate these Drift W1 from that image.
And a good thing, too, because Segway is also famous for its self-balancing technology. That tech is “built on more than 800 patents” that makes it sound more protected than your own body if you do fall from this pair. Given its design, however, somewhere between roller and inline skates, it admittedly doesn’t seem to be too wobbly.
Of course, the question now is whether it’s a good idea in the first place. You’ll have to admit, it looks pretty retro and Segway’s own marketing material doesn’t exactly help either. Unlike Segway’s other more utilitarian vehicles, the Drift W1 seems to be designed purely for fun. We’ll know more when it makes the big formal launch on July 24.