Dreamwalker – Self Balancing Electric Scooter

Years ago when Segway first came out, I was really impressed with its technology and its innovative controls. Unfortunately, Segway is a fairly expensive form of personal transportation, and it never really caught on outside some very niche applications (small tourist groups and mall security come to mind.) However, in recent years rechargeable batteries have become much more compact, and the gyroscope technology has become really cheap and ubiquitous. Thanks to all of that, products like Dreamwalker are now accessible and affordable to a wide range of users. I have been using mine for a few weeks, and so far I have been really impressed. Here are some of my impressions.

Dreamwalker looks and feels very sturdy. It is pretty heavy for its size, probably due to the large and heavy electric motors it contains. However, it is also a fairly straightforward, albeit tricky, vehicle to master. I was able to figure out how to use it without reading any instructions or watching any videos. However, it does require quite a bit of balance and coordination to get it to perform properly. It is definitely not a trivial or even intuitive experience to stand on a wobbly two-wheeled motorized platform. The experience is similar to getting used to balancing on a skateboard, and once you get used to it in many ways much easier to pull off.

In order to move you need to lean forward, or occasionally backward (although I don’t recommend this latter option). To stop you need to straighten out and get into a perfectly balanced position. Again, it takes a while to get these things right, but one you do they become the second nature.

For the optimal results for riding the Dreamwalker I strongly recommend smooth, flat surfaces. Initially I mostly practiced on my driveway, but eventually ventured out on the street and the pedestrian pathway behind my home. Long stretches of pedestrian pathway are probably the ideal outdoors locations for Dreamwalker – they are not too busy, are away from vehicular traffic, and for the most part they are free from onramps and offramps. In fact, those last two are probably the hardest obstacles to master. They are usually very uneven in hight, and they don’t allow for an easy and smooth transitions.

While you are getting used to Dreamwalker I would not recommend that you go too fast. The top speed is listed at 10 km/h, but initially I would recommend not going faster than 4-5 km/h. It is really tempting to go faster, especially on long flat stretches of road, but when you are not experienced enough even the smallest bump or a random twig on the road can completely throw you off balance.

Fortunately, I haven’t had any accidents while riding the Dreamwalker. However, a few times I was thrown off balance and had to quickly jump off and let Dreamwalker roll to standstill. Its speed is low enough that I could do this fairly easily. I am also pleased to find out that Dreamwalker is well built and rugged enough to withstand many rough tumbles and impacts. It is now full of scratches and has lost its initial impeccable shine, but it has lost none of its functionality. I would strongly advise that you wear a helmet and maybe even hand gloves and knee protectors when you first start using Dreamwalker. Just one unfortunately accident can really have serious consequences.

One great use for the Dreamwalker is with a baby/toddler stroller. It makes it much easier to push the stroller and to go on walks with your little ones. It also has the additional benefit of stabilizing you while you are holding onto the stroller’s handles.

The upper weight limit for Dreamwalker is set to 220 lbs, but I was able to carry with me a substantial amount of extra weight, and it still worked fine. My guess is that 220 lbs is a very conservative estimate, and that it can work up to 250 lbs or so, but that would probably be pushing it to its limit.

I’ve been able to go for a few miles on Dreamwalker without it running out of power. A few times I had approached the top speed, at which point Dreamwalker started to beep. It is easy to recharge, but I had never timed how long it takes to fully recharge it.

This summer I’ve seen a few cool new powered longboards, and I had thought that Dreamwalker might be as effective as those for some kind of daily commute. However, powerful and cool as it is, it is no alternative to those more powerful boards, and definitely no match for a bicycle. In order to compete with those it would need to be a bit more powerful, and able to handle bumps on the road much more smoothly. If it featured larger and more powerful set of wheels and stronger motors, then it just might become a very convenient mode of transport.

I have uploaded a video of Dreamwalker – what it looks like up close, how to get on it and get balanced, and what it looks like from the rider’s point of view to ride on one. (That last footage I captured with Soocoo action camera.) Hopefully those videos will provide you with a good sense of what this awesome little personal vehicle feels like and what it can do. It has become one of my favorite all-time gadgets, and a source of fun new hobby. I can’t recommend it strongly enough.

**** Product provided for review purposes. ****


Bojan Tunguz

Bojan Tunguz was born in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which he and his family fled during the civil war for the neighboring Croatia. Over the past two decades he has studied, lived and worked in the United States. He is a theoretical physicist with degrees from Stanford and University of Illinois. Tunguz has taught physics at several prominent liberal arts colleges and has been writing about physics, science and technology for more than a decade. He also has a wide spectrum of interests, and reads and writes about current events, society, culture, religion and politics. Over the years he has reviewed many of the books that he has read, and posted his reviews on various online outlets. In 2011 he had become a top 10 reviewer on Amazon.com, where he continues to be very active. Aside from reading and writing, Tunguz enjoys traveling, digital photography, hiking, and fitness. He resides with his wife in Indiana. You can follow my review updates on the following pages as well: Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/tunguzreview Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/tunguzreviews Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/104312842297641697463/posts

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