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Amazon Auctions Segway Scooters

February 19, 2002

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SEATTLE (AP) _ Segway enthusiasts, start your modems!

Amazon.com began auctioning three of the hotly anticipated speedy scooters on Tuesday and the bidding quickly reached $30,500. The highly engineered scooters were known for almost a year as simply ``IT″ and ``Ginger″ before a December introduction.

``After one day, to be at that level, it’s really fantastic,″ said Tobe Cohen, director of marketing for Segway.

Bids will be accepted until March 28, the companies said in a joint statement, and the winners will be able to meet inventor Dean Kamen when they receive their scooters at the end of April.

The limited edition models also will be signed by Kamen and include such luxuries as leather-wrapped titanium grips.

Proceeds from the auction will go to FIRST, Kamen’s nonprofit organization dedicated to helping young people appreciate math and science.

The Segway Human Transponder is a one-person, battery-powered, gyroscope-stabilized scooter whose speed and direction are controlled by the rider’s shifting weight.

Kamen, a quirky inventor whose patents include the heart stent used by Dick Cheney, touts it as an invention that could significantly reduce traffic and pollution in urban areas.

A prototype of the gadget was unveiled in December after months of speculation about the machine, code-named ``IT″ and ``Ginger.″

The Postal Service and the city of Atlanta were among the first to sign on to use the scooters, which are expected to cost several thousand dollars.

The scooters will be more generally available to consumers later this year.


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