In this article, we will learn all about the hoverboard/telepresence robot combo that is the Segway Ninebot Loomo. We will go over performance, features, the pros, and cons of this rideable, as well as what the maintenance looks like and any ongoing costs.
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What is the Segway Loomo?
The Segway Loomo is a personal transport device that is also a smart companion robot. With smart features such as tracking you as you’re moving, it can follow you around while avoiding obstacles. The onboard camera and avatar let you also use Loomo as a telepresence device.
The Segway Ninebot Loomo is quite stable and sturdy and is quite intuitive in how it steers. If you ever wanted to drive with your knees, this will get you that experience. You also get a robot friend out of the deal too. One that can follow you carrying bags and also acts as a telepresence device if required.
A quick summary would be that this is a fun, luxury item to own but I would struggle to see it as a life-changing device. But if you want a cool gadget and robot friend, but aren’t patient enough for R2-D2 to become a lifesize reality, this could be a great stopgap.
However, limited updates and poor robotic performance leaves the Loomo as a product that could be amazing but falls short. If you want a personal transport device, you can find better value elsewhere. If you want a robot companion or telepresence robot, there are better options. Sadly this attempt to combine the two just doesn’t currently warrant the price tag.
Pros and Cons
? What we loved
- Can carry your bags for you
- Steering with the knees is quite intuitive
- The Segway Loomo is very stable
- The robot can be commanded using your voice (although limited)
? Not so much
- Demos indicated that facial tracking and voice commands were spotty
- Weight limit is 220lbs/99kg
- Unit is quite pricey with The retail price for Loomo $1799
- Lacks handlebars like other Segways
- Obstacle avoidance doesn’t live up to the claims
- Seriously in need of software updates but none available
How It Works
You operate the Segway Ninebot Loomo much in the same way you do a self-balancing scooter or hoverboard. It is advised that you wear a helmet when you run the Loomo.
Carefully step onto the self-balancing platform, and then lean forward to make the machine go forward. You can lean back to slow it down or go backward.
Turning the Loomo was arguably my favorite part, you press the knees into the center of the unit and lean to the left and right. It certainly feels a bit safer than how to turn a hoverboard.
To activate your robot friend, all you have to do is push a button on the top of the machine, and a screen pops out.
This screen has a face with varying “emoticon” like faces, and now becomes a helpful robot that can aid you in carrying your bags. It also can learn to follow around its owner autonomously and can help in the shooting of stable videos.
You need not even have programming experience to teach Loomo new things. You can use your smartphone to handle this. You can use a text-to-speech feature to make Loomo talk to people around him.
The camera attached to Loomo integrates with your smartphone to show you who is looking at Loomo and allows you to interact with that person.
- Motion Control: The motion control on this self-balancing Segway is pretty great. It features quick-response technology, has disturbance rejection, and allows you to glide along smoothly on varying surface types.
- Obstacle Avoidance: If you are concerned about riding or using your Segway Ninebot Loomo through a busy place, don’t worry. This smart Segway uses its tech to create high-res maps of its environment and, therefore, can anticipate pedestrian behavior, monitor its own mechanical system, and react to the surrounding area. It can easily follow you and avoid obstacles as a result, even if you are in a crowded spot.
- 3 Axis Gimbal: The gimbal provides stability to the HD camera, and allows Loomo to take high-quality videos as well as carefully assess its surroundings. The camera is beautiful 1080p and has 30Hz streaming capability for fantastic photo and video taking.
- Telepresence Avatar: This feature allows you to take on the role of Loomo. You use your phone to see and speak to the world as Loomo does! It is achieved using a total of 5 mics on its head that help determines voice and noise direction as well as hear your vocal commands. It could be a fun alternative to the Double Robotics telepresence robot if you are looking for something to use at home.
I found the riding performance of the Loomo to be pretty good, all things considered. Firstly, the device was much more stable than anticipated.
I leaned back at one point to stop from hitting the wall rather quickly and braced myself in the event of a fall but did not experience one.
Learning to use the device took me about 20 minutes of some trial and error, which included finding my footing and getting comfortable on the hoverboard.
Taking it to the nearby footpath and clocking in the speed registered it at 11 MPH or 17 km/h. The range on the scooter, says another user, is about 22 miles or 35 km, although I did not go that far with it.
You can simply plug this into your home outlet and be ready to roll again in 3 hours. You can take it up inclines of 15 degrees and lower with ease. Rolling across well-cut grass and even some dirt was also easy.
Learning how to use the robot part of the Segway Ninebot Loomo device was fun, but not as intuitive as I’d hoped. I attempted to put a shopping bag with 5 lbs. of small groceries onto the robot, but the balance was affected.
I arranged the bag onto the footrests, and it carried the bag. However, if you were hoping for it to carry a bulky box or wide parcel, it would be near impossible for it to do that.
Rumor has it they are making a trailer that can be attached to the device, but a search yielded no results.
At the park along the footpath, we decided to test out the voice commands and facial tracking. The park was filled with a small crowd, and Loomo had a hard time finding and then staying locked onto me.
I also found that my commands were sometimes ignored when issued. That being said, the robot delighted the kids playing in the park-so the bit about having a friendly personality does ring true.
You will need to make sure the tires on your Loomo are in good enough condition to handle the many surfaces on which you will ride.
Loomo is pretty good at handling varying terrain, but good tread and traction play a role in this. Make sure you always check tires for tread depth and replace or patch them if they lose integrity in any way.
You will also need to make sure you have a quality hoverboard helmet to use when riding. Helmets should be replaced every five years. If your helmet was not recently manufactured, you should purchase a new one.
If you experience an accident and see cracks in your helmet’s foam, replace it immediately. See helmets.org for more details on what makes a suitable helmet.
Here are maintenance instructions according to the Loomo Instruction Manual.
- You can use a soft, wet cloth to keep the mainframe tidy. You can scrub the dirt away with a toothbrush and toothpaste, and then clean it up using a soft, damp cloth. If you get scratches on any of the plastic parts, you may polish them using extra-fine grit sandpaper.
- Be sure you perform any maintenance when it is off, the charger is unplugged, and the rubber cap located on the charge port is tightly sealed. Failure to do so could lead to electric shock.
- Do not wash your Loomo using gas, alcohol, acetone, or other corrosive or volatile chemicals. Do not use a pressure washer to clean the Loomo.
- Keep tires inflated around 30~50 PSI.
- Software updates should also be applied-they are available over the air for your convenience.
Final thoughts on the Segway Ninebot Loomo
All in all, the Segway Loomo seems like a luxury item that would certainly be fun to own, but is it convenient? Maybe, maybe not.
The gadget is a fun intersection of transportation and AI, with a dash of that fun robot buddy we all dreamed of as kids. If you want to move yourself in a fun way, this is the product you want.
However, it is the lack of updates and progress that is concerning. If you want a hoverboard, you can find options such as the Ninebot S Smart at a fraction of the price. If it is the telepresence part you are interested in, then there are other options out there that will perform better.
It’s a great idea and hopefully, with some updates, it will be an amazing device. However, until that happens, I can’t tell you it is worth the money.
That said, if you want a device to show off to your friends, it is a still fun talking point, albeit an expensive one.