Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Sign in | Create Account

Oil, Security, Environment, Technology The Segway Alternative

06/05/2004 2:30 PM Kresge
Ernest Moniz, Director, MIT Energy Initiative; Dean Kamen, Founder, DEKA Research

Description: As an energy source, oil is hard to beat. In spite of reports to the contrary, there's still lots of it available 1 trillion barrels and the cost of extracting and harnessing it for use in transportation and industry is cheap. But, Ernest Moniz reminds us, the energy equation needs to include some important new factors: insecurity of supply and environmental stewardship. The price and convenience of fossil fuels decreases quickly when you take into account the costs of global warming and ensuring stability in the Middle East. If the U.S. ever develops a serious energy policy, says Moniz, here are some key objectives: Reduce oil demand by producing higher efficiency vehicles; target "unconventional reservoirs of oil" in places like Canada and Venezuela; and develop alternative liquid fuels from such ubiquitous sources as cellulose. Hydrogen power is hugely uneconomical, with viable technology decades away, so we "can't afford to have a focus on this direction impede serious approaches regarding security and the environment," concludes Moniz. The Segway Alternative Whether you live in Bangkok or London, don't count on motoring along at more than 8 miles per hour -- the pace of 19th century horse carriages. Half the world's people -- around 3 billion -- will have moved to a city by 2020, says Dean Kamen, so "cities will need cars like a fish needs a bicycle." Even if you make cars clean and efficient, he points out, "we don't need a 3-thousand pound pile of steel to move our 159 pound butt around town, and there are still the issues of congestion and parking." What if you could have a machine "that's non-polluting, fun to use, requires no change in infrastructure _ just a change in thinking?" Voila, the Segway, Kamen's invention: a self-balancing personal transportation device. If you live in a city, and don't need to travel more than two miles, try the Segway. For a block-long trip, pull on the sneakers, counsels Kamen. He has pedaled and peddled the Segway around the U.S. (as he does on Kresge's stage) to argue for its inclusion on sidewalks. Forty-five states have given the nod to Segway travel, with some hazing from the city of San Francisco and the bicycle lobby.

Host(s): Alumni Association, Alumni Association

Tape #: 18775 and 18776

Comments (0)

It looks like no one has posted a comment yet. You can be the first!

You need to log in, in order to post comments. If you don’t have an account yet, sign up now!

MIT World — special events and lectures

MIT World — special events and lectures

Category: Events | Updated over 2 years ago

Created
December 12, 2011 18:42
Category
Tags
License
All Rights Reserved (What is this?)
Additional Files


Viewed
1555 times

More from MIT World — special events and lectures

The Electron and the Bit: 100 Years of EECS at MIT

The Electron and the Bit: 100 Years...

Added over 2 years ago | 00:39:20 | 1993 views

Robotics in Space Exploration

Robotics in Space Exploration

Added over 2 years ago | 01:14:00 | 2331 views

High"Eco"Tech: Building Avant la Garde

High"Eco"Tech: Building Avant la Garde

Added over 2 years ago | 01:39:00 | 2002 views

Where Morals Come From (And Why it Matters)

Where Morals Come From (And Why it ...

Added over 2 years ago | 01:56:00 | 2578 views

Autism Research: Progress and Promises

Autism Research: Progress and Promises

Added over 2 years ago | 00:43:07 | 4199 views

Global Pandemics

Global Pandemics

Added over 2 years ago | 01:05:00 | 2368 views