Japanese Inventor Claims Original "Segway" Concept

Professor Emiritus at Tokyo's University of Electro-Communications claims he developed origina self-balancing vehicle 15 years ago.

Published: 14-Jan-2002

TOKYO, Jan 13 (Reuters) - A self-balancing scooter billed as heralding a revolution in the way people travel could run into an obstacle in Japan, where a robotics professor wants recognition for inventing a nearly identical machine 15 years ago.

The claim comes a little more than a month after U.S. inventor Dean Kamen unveiled the "Segway Human Transporter" and Segway LLC, the company founded to make and sell it, ending a year of speculation and secrecy over the invention that kept the high-tech world in thrall.

"I'm not saying that they took the idea but I want people to know that it existed before the Segway was developed," Kazuo Yamafuji, Professor Emiritus at Tokyo's University of Electro-Communications, told Reuters.

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