The meme, “Ginger,” is apparently a new product dreamed up by well-known inventor, Dean Kamen. I first heard about Kamen last year when I saw a report on his invention, the iBot Wheelchair. The iBot is nothing short of astounding! Not only can it travel up and down stairs, but it can balance, let’s call it “stand up,” on two wheels. Through a system of gyroscopes and microprocessors, it has the ability to keep its balance. I couldn’t believe the demonstration I saw. You literally CAN’T tip it over. It’s absolutely freaky!
I first heard about Ginger on Slashdot. The Slashdot article pointed to an article on MSNBC. MSNBC pointed to Inside.com. Inside.com had a boat-load of links in their message boards, including a link to Dean Kamen’s company and a link to the related patent on Delphion.com. It has since spread to ZDNet and Reuters, among others.
The excitement and wild speculation was further stirred by comments made by Jeff Bezos and Steve Jobs, both of whom have seen prototypes. Bezos said, “[Ginger] is a product so revolutionary, you’ll have no problem selling it. The question is, are people going to be allowed to use it?” And Jobs was quoted as saying, “If enough people see the machine you won’t have to convince them to architect cities around it. It’ll just happen.” Pretty big statements, eh?
The patent suggests it’s some kind of scooter, but regardless of what it turns out to be (we’ll find out in 2002), the excitement it has generated in just a few days, has blown me away!