In an IFA galaxy far far away lives the China Pavilion. And on the far side of the outer ring of the China Pavilion, buried amongst a plethora of steamers, curling irons, and television mounts, you may stumble upon the S-Walker -- though you're just as likely to miss it. And what might an S-Walker be? Well, if we're being precise, it's a "Speed-Walker, Sky-Walker, whatever," according to its German booth master. Luke would be proud. Lesser beings may recognize it as a KIRF Segway, designed in Germany and handmade in China, just a mere ten days ago. Its biggest strength lies in price -- the thing is expected to retail for €2,500 (about $3,550) sometime in the middle of next year. We suppose this yet-to-be-released electric transporter is here to serve warehouse workers, couriers, and the millions of college students who every day dream of zooming across campus atop a pair of motorized wheels, but simply couldn't justify spending an entire semester's tuition on a Segway.

We spent a few minutes riding the world's first (and only) functional S-Walker around the rather deserted International Hall, and while very much still a prototype, the battery powered contraption felt peppy enough and responded accurately to commands, moving forward as we leaned to the front, and backing up as we shifted weight to the rear. You control direction using a small handlebar-mounted joystick, rather than by leaning from side-to-side as you would on a Segway. The designers capped speed at 10 kilometers per hour for the IFA demo, but production models will be boosted to 30 km/h, and it's theoretically capable of reaching 100 km/h (but that'll likely require some potentially-illegal hacking on your part). Roll on past the break to see the S-Walker in action. And may the force be with you.
Gallery | 11 Photos

S-Walker Electric Transporter hands-on


Mobile Miscellany: week of August 29, 2011