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Canadian Teens Invent A Segway-like Motorcycle Called The Tango

Tango (Image courtesy Canoe.ca) By Andrew Liszewski

While the Segway hasn’t really caught on the way its makers had hoped it’s nice to see the technology and concepts behind the device catching on elsewhere. The Tango was created by high school students Ben Gulak and Jason Morrow who represented Team Canada at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Albuquerque, New Mexico this year. Think of the Tango as a self-balancing, compact version of a racing motorcycle with a bit more kick than even the fastest Segway model.

Riding the Tango is just like riding a racing bike though instead of having the wheels mounted in the front and back they actually sit side by side in the middle of the bike. Using accelerometers the Tango detects the subtle movements of the rider which are used to control the vehicle. Like with the Segway you just lean forward to drive forward or lean left and right in order to turn. Since the Tango is electric powered it produces zero emissions but it also means a top speed of only 40 miles an hour. So while speed freaks should look elsewhere, commuters living in a crowded city center might soon have another transportation alternative.

Unfortunately Ben and Jason didn’t win the top prize at the Intel ISEF but they did manage to get a lot of publicity which will hopefully attract investors and get more people excited about their concept.

[ Teen scientists rev their motors ] VIA [ Ubergizmo ]







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  • Pete

    I wonder if they’ll have to change the name of that thing since there’s already an electric vehicle being made that’s called “Tango”: http://commutercars.com/

  • BORT??

    JEBANGY!

  • Pat

    40mph right??
    So what happens if say, a car cuts you off while you’re going 35? If the wheels are side by side, that means you cant break hard or else you’ll get catapulted forward.

    No thanks….I’ll stick to my good old bycicle.

  • Anonymous

    Apparently, Pat hasn’t been cut off in traffic on his bicycle. (by cars or pedestrians) Breaking hard on the bicycle flips the rider over the handlebars. “You can’t design for idiots, because idiots are so ingenious.” – recumbent excepted?

  • Sjors

    @Pat, if when breaking the cycle will balance at the same speed back wards, actually notting will happen.. Only you’ll be pushed to your bike pretty hard

  • Doc

    Pat: Yes, you’re absolutely right. Stopping this thing quickly would be a nightmare. Braking a bicycle or motorcycle, 70% or more of the weight of the rider shifts onto the front wheel. It’s simple applied physics. Panic-stops on a bicycle (ANY bicycle) transfer 100% of the weight of the rider and bike onto the front wheel. When I have to stop FAST (pedestrian steps out in front of my bike, car cuts me off) my rear wheel typically skims the ground or lifts clean off.

    “Anonymous”, you’ve clearly never learned to modulate your brakes. I’m an experienced cyclist and I’ve never been “flipped over the handlebars” during an emergency-stop, despite having extremely effective brakes. Yes it’s possible, but I can’t imagine it happening unless I was really making a concerted effort to eat pavement. Maybe a rookie rider grabbing a V-brake lever HARD with his whole hand? You’d have to be REALLY new to riding a bike.

    The reason they never made a 60mph Segway is because the self-balancing nature of the vehicle doesn’t allow for “brakes”. You have to reposition your weight WAY back before physics will even allow you to slow down without doing a face-plant.

    If you need a live demonstration, do a wheelie on your motorcycle. Any stunt rider will tell you that the ABSOLUTE FASTEST way to bring the front end of your bike slamming violently to the ground is to tap the rear brakes while your front wheel is pointed skyward.

  • Rich

    This is the coolest electric motor bike. About the stopping on a bike..I have flipped over the handlebars, cracked my knee and nuts because a dog was trying to attack me…but I still ride my bike. Dont be a pansie…build them, ride them and have fun…just dont walk out in front of a car either!