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  1.    #1  
    If you've heard about "Ginger" it's supposed to be the next big product that *everyone* will want. "Ginger" is even rumored to revolutionize people's lives in the same manner as the world-wide web. Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos are reportedly two of several high-profile investors providing venture capital to the project. However, the inventor and everyone connected with him is keeping tight-lipped about what "Ginger" is. So... any ideas?

    [Edited by Rocketman on 01-14-2001 at 12:11 AM]
  2. #2  
    Any links or anything to this "Ginger"? That would be a good place to start off. Other wise, I think that Ginger is just this.

  3. #3  

    ***edited URL - MarkEagle
    Million Dollar Bills, anyone?

    <a href=""></a>
  4. #4  
    Ginger is a nice publicity stunt, as far as I'm concerned... Look at all the free press this guy's getting for his invention by "leaking" all these mysterious tidbits of information! Sure, all of the articles always mention that Steve Jobs has said cities will be built around this device... but Steve Jobs also said people would be really into the NeXT cube and the G4 cube

    <br>"Form follows function - that has been misunderstood. Form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual union" -Frank Lloyd Wright
  5. #5  
    Originally posted by Usonian
    Ginger is a nice publicity stunt, as far as I'm concerned
    Amen to that. I for one am sooooooooo sick of hearing the hype on this one. The best and most amusing speculation I've seen is from a Reuters report on Wired News, "'Ginger' May Be Motorized Scooter," which cites images from a December patent filing with the WIPO (why not the USPTO?): "Images of the 'personal mobility vehicle' picture what appears to be a young girl balanced on a two-wheeled scooter. The patent application fits descriptions made in broadcast reports by people claiming to have seen prototypes of the vehicle." See the WIPO image below.

    A next-generation Razor scooter? Gimme a break.

    [Edited by Gameboy70 on 01-14-2001 at 01:48 PM]
  6. #6  
    Well if you look at the patent (#5,971,091) it appears to be a stabilization devices that would allow a two wheeled 'scooter' or a two 'wheeled' wheelchair to keep the rider stabilized as the device transports them over irregular surfaces, including up and down staircases. I think of it as being a two wheeled unicycle that balances its load automatically.

    Having a sister who is handicapped I would say that such a device would certainly be handy for her and much more useful and mobile than her wheelchair. As for the 'scooter' crowd, stairs are an obstacle that currently slows them down. I don't think that I want scooters racing downstairs behind me as I am climbing down the stairs. Sounds like an accident waiting to happen. Although the device doesn't look like it can take stairs at high speed so that may be a saving grace.

    Overall I would say that it is evolutionary not revolutionary.

    Unless of course the fringe element is correct about the propulsion unit, then I would want one for myself!!!
  7. #7  
    OK. My two cents...

    The text on the previously mentioned patent page describes a "5 wheeled" device. From the picture, however, it looks like at least 6, with two or four contacting the ground at any one moment. I suspect there is a third (or 7th?) wheel located centrally and aft beneath the riders feet. Otherwise the lady is standing on a very unstable device.

    I have a two wheeled dolly. I use it to move heavy loads. I have occasionally (when bored) stood on the base of it facing the handle and lifted myself up. It's not too hard to balance that way. What IS hard, is to move oneself forward or backward balanced on only two wheels. Put a motor on these wheels , give it some gas, and you are likely to be dumped off the back. Stop suddenly, and you'll fall face first onto the road in front of you.

    With a smart computer program, however, I can imagine the propulsion being linked to the load on the device. Lean forward, and the device would move forward to keep you balanced. Lean back, and perhaps it would reverse or slow down. Much the same way that modern airforce planes are "fly-by-wire", I believe a device that looks anything like the photo in that patent would have to be.

    If that's true, then hope nothing ever fails. Serious wreck. Serious lawsuit.

    There is nothing yet made by man that cannot be improved upon.
  8. #8  
    I hope it is more than a scooter, or at least a scooter with some sort of hovering ability. I don't think I can deal with all of this hype until next fall, I'm sick of it already!
  9. #9  
    Originally posted by Ed Gain
    [B]Well if you look at the patent (#5,971,091)[B]
    If you see p. 43, it says something about sound. Hmmm.
    My processing power is contributed to
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  10. #10  
    Hopefully you have all been around long enough to be leery of believing all of the 'hype' in the media. And if you have seen this type of 'hype' before, then you know that the mainstream media tends to be 'superficial' in their coverage. And they never go back and apologize when they are wrong. While we will all have to wait to see what 'Ginger' really is, I would like you to consider the following.

    Modern day patents tend to be submitted for only a part of a system. For instance an automobile manufacturer many patent many parts of a new vehicle, but each item will be patented separately. There are many reasons for doing this including 'enforceability' and 'secrecy'. Looking at a single patent it is often impossible to see what it will be used for. Keep in mind that this patent is NOT for a scooter or a wheelchair, but for a means of locomotion over irregular surfaces using only two wheels. The item that is being patented is unstable when it is not being powered, and will at that time likely rest on a third wheel, a stand or a second pair of wheels.

    One of the fields where this would be useful would be the field of robotics. There have been many attempts to create 'personal' or 'household' robots. But they have all failed. One of the main reasons that they have failed is because the robots have not been able to navigate stairs or travel over irregular surfaces (carpets, grass, thresholds etc.). Could it be that Ginger will actually be a personal robot? One that is two legged and would be able to follow its master easily around the house, the garden or around the office? We will have to wait and see. But until then I would like to caution everyone to question the news reports and to not pass judgment over an invention just because someone in the media doesn't have the imagination to visualize its full potential.

    Jeff318 I suspect that the sound generation device in this patent is actually a noise canceling device.
  11. #11  
    The patent claims that the ground-contacting module may be a pair of wheels or a cluster of wheels. The interesting part is: "Finally, the embodiment has a control loop, in which the motorized drive is included, for dynamically enhancing stability in the fore-aft plane by operation of the motorized drive in connection with the ground-contacting module."

    From this I infer that the drive doubles as a motor for the wheels and as a centrifuge, so it remains balanced as it moves forward or backward. I'm no engineer, but I assume that centrifugal force from the drive would decrease that amount of torque necessary for the ground-contacting module (the wheels) to provide acceleration -- unlike the motorized Razor scooters we see today.

    Any other theories?
  12. #12 has a different POV.... see
    My processing power is contributed to
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  13. #13  
    According to this article in The Register ( there is also US Patent (5,971,091) that was granted in October 1999.
    What the Heck! It's what I want!
  14. #14  
    A: i cannot believe we are all entering once again into the world of patent debate/discussion (and this time of our own free will!)

    B: EdGain - i saw a guy on charlie rose a few months ago (and then later read about him in wired or something) who had invented a robotic wheelchair called the ibot, i think, which made it possible through a complex series of gyroscopic calculations to climb stairs in the chair... it could also essentially rear up on its hind wheels to bring the user's eyelevel to about six feet tall...

    anyway, what i found most amazing was that even tho' the mfr was somewhere in the neighborhood of 10k, the dude said that evryone who had tested the machine said they would buy it in a heartbeat... one man apparently was so overcome all he could do was cry.

    it was incredibly touching, and i hope the ibot becomes a widespread reality, because when he demonstrated it (he is not handicapped, btw) it did seem absolutely amazing... awe inspiring really.

    --hey, i just found a pretty good story about it on msnbc. don't ya just love the web?--

    all this is to say that ginger won't be able to hold a candle to this machine. i mean, i'm all for cool new technology... but this ibot made me cry when i saw it, then reading about it again, and i don't even know anyone who needs a wheelchair. i don't think you can know how i feel or what i mean till you read the above article...

    exit, pursued by a bear.
  15. #15  
    The ibot is extremely impressive. I saw a 20 minute TV report about a year ago (20/20 i believe) that showed the iBot. It Does negotiate stairs. In fact, while reared up on two wheels, a person on the ground was able to throw a 10 lb bag of flour to the person in the ibot, and the ibot DIDN'T EVEN BUDGE. Kamen's Gyro stabilizaton system is nothing short of fantastic. (this is coming from a person who spent way too much time in college building walking robots)

    Another note about Kamen: He came up with the idea for the FIRST robotics competition, which allows high school students to compete in robotics competitions. The only complaint I have is that he didn't come up with it sooner! I would have loved to participate back in my HS days

    As far as Ginger goes, It could be this scooter design, or it could be somthing COMPLETELY different. Kamen may not submit this particular patent until he's ready to go to market.

    Patents are a hotly contested issue (as we well know) if you want to hear the opinions of a person who really really really (did I say really) doesn't like patents, check out Don Lancaster's site at That site is an education in itself for the electronics hardware hacker.

  16. #16  
    Originally posted by matty
    {...}all this is to say that ginger won't be able to hold a candle to this machine.{...}
    You do realize that it's the same guy, don't you?
    ‎"Is that suck and salvage the Kevin Costner method?" - Chris Matthews on Hardball, July 6, 2010. Wonder if he's talking about his oil device or his movie career...
  17. #17  
    For those who believe the hype, you can order IT on Amazon here. According to the page, "Price information not available. You can still order this item, and we will request approval of the price via e-mail prior to shipment."
  18. #18  
    Originally posted by Toby
    Originally posted by matty
    {...}all this is to say that ginger won't be able to hold a candle to this machine.{...}
    You do realize that it's the same guy, don't you?
    i didn't realize, actually... it makes me a whole lot more excited about ginger, tho' i still believe the ibot's human interest element is a little strong to be displaced by a scooter. that's all i meant in the first place.

    thanks for clueing me in.
    exit, pursued by a bear.
  19. #19  
    The strongest speculation would suggest that Ginger is a scooter-esque device that would indeed ballance YOU on IT, would accellerate when you lean forward and slow down when you lean back (and possibly turn with a lean as well). The "big" news, however might really be its power source - the first mass-produced broadly-applicable Stirling engine ("external combustion" and up to double the efficiency of "regular" motors).

    We'll see in '02 or before.
  20. #20  
    Originally posted by elmorg
    The "big" news, however might really be its power source - the first mass-produced broadly-applicable Stirling engine ("external combustion" and up to double the efficiency of "regular" motors).
    That would be super. The Stirling engine is one of those holy grails of engineering: it would be a marvelous thing to engineer but so far nobody has managed to make one work.
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