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Segway's brains head for toy robot

It's a balancing act

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"Take the path less traveled," advises Segway Inc's corporate website - reminding visitors of the many millions who have shunned the company's $5,000, 83 pound stand-up wheelchair [*].

But Segway has now begun licensing parts of its technology assets to other companies, beginning with WowWee Robotics, a Hong Kong-based toy manufacturer. WowWee, home of the RoboSapien (batteries not included), has licensed Segway's Smart Motion software and designs.

RoboSapien is a programmable toy that boasts "a fluent international 'caveman' speech" - much like California's Governor, and former robot impersonator, Arnold Schwarzenegger (batteries not included either).

The companies said the technology will appear in products from early next year.

This week Las Vegas banned the Segway from Sin City's sidewalks. A Segway rental service in the city that opened in 2004 has since shut its doors.

Once, Silicon Valley VC and investor John Doerr predicted that the Segway would reach $1bn in sales faster than any product in history - good call, John - while Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos told the scooter's inventor Dean Kamen, "You have a product so revolutionary, you'll have no problem selling it."

Nevertheless, it's a good bet that we'll soon see Segway's brains in a toy dinosaur. Which sounds about right. ®

*Bootnote: now only $3,995 at ... Amazon.com (battery included).

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