When they launched in 2001, Segways were supposed to change the world—at least one prognosticator thought they’d be more important than the internet—but they’re mostly the purview of tourist groups and mall cops at this point. There’s any number of reasons this might be the case—the price, the uncoolness, the fact that walking really isn’t that hard—but maybe the issue is that it required standing?
That’s what the reveal of the company’s brand-new S-Pod implies at least. The new Segway is essentially a motorized stroller made for adults. Like its forebears, the S-Pod balances on two wheels, but it also has a much smaller third wheel that it can rest on to make getting in feel a bit more stable.
But the thing that really sets the S-Pod apart is its seat. Instead of standing up and leaning whichever way you want the Segway to go, riders sit back and use a navigation panel with a manually operated control knob that shifts the center of gravity of the vehicle, which can reach speeds of up to 25 miles per hour. You can even remove the knob and operate the Segway remotely, for some reason.
This is all well and good, but it’s hard for us to look at this thing and not think about what feels like the most prescient depiction of the future in recent memory: Wall-E.
In the Pixar classic, humans have abandoned the earth after mass environmental carnage for massive space stations equipped with floating chairs everyone moves around in instead of walking, chairs that look unnervingly like S-Pods sans wheels.
So while the arrival of the Segway S-Pod at next week’s Consumer Electronics Show might not be a portent of the sedentary future that awaits us, it sure as hell feels like it might be.