Segway has often been the butt of the joke in the past, but the latest product from the company could help change that.
The Ninebot Segway is essentially a two-wheeled balancing scooter that users can ride on to get places. But when a user isn’t riding it, it can turn into an adorable little robot aimed at being a personal assistant.
The device is basically a handleless Segway, and users can travel at speeds up to 11 mph. After they get to their destination, the user can press a button, and out will pop a robot head with a screen for a face, after which the user can connect a set of little robot arms.
Ninebot, a robotics company backed by Intel and Xiaomi, bought Segway in April 2015.
The robot is able to see its surroundings, recognize objects and people, and even detect different voices. It is also able to do things like take photos and videos and even carry supplies. The robot was announced during Intel’s keynote presentation at CES 2016, when it was ridden onto the stage as a Segway and then it’s head and later arms were revealed. It features Intel’s RealSense technology. A developer kit for the device is set for the second half of 2016, while a consumer release will take place at a later date.
Of course, it remains to be seen whether or not robotic assistants like this will really ever take off, but it’s easy to see that it certainly has its uses, especially considering the recent popularity of “hoverboards.” Plus, it’s super cute.