In 2001, the hype around the Segway was downright iPhone-ish, as rumors swirled around a heavily shrouded invention codenamed Ginger. The excitement was organic -- it really caught fire when Apple's Steve Job said the mystery device could be as important to the world as the personal computer. The man behind the Segway, Dean Kamen, was already a wealthy and successful inventor when he introduced the self-balancing personal transporter in 2001.
But despite the hype, the Segway was a flop when it hit the market. No one saw much of a use for this kind of motorized scooter and few were willing to experiment at a price point of $5,000. "Manufacturers have to work very hard to show what's useful about a new category of technology," says Hall. We're still waiting.