Xiaomi Smartphone Produces Self-Balancing Scooter

December 16, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. compact / kəmˈpækt / (adj.) – referring to something that is small and easy to bring around 
Example: He brought a compact bike that will fit inside the car.

2. complement / ˈkɒm pləˌmɛnt / (v.) – to make something better
Example: The earphones were made to complement the smartphone.

3. concrete / ˈkɒn krit / (adj.) – pertaining to something that is solid in mass
Example: The boy was told to ride his scooter on concrete ground.

4. incline / ˈɪn klaɪn / (n.) – an area that is slanted at an angle
Example: Our car had a hard time moving up the incline.

5. pavement / ˈpeɪv mənt / (n.) – the concrete surface of a road
Example: The boy fell on the pavement while biking.


Read the text below.
Chinese smartphone company Xiaomi will launch a self-balancing scooter.

The scooter, called Ninebot Mini, is compact in size, allowing the user to carry it inside public transportation. It can also go as far as 22 kilometers, but the battery will need to be charged in between.

Since Xiaomi is mainly a smartphone company, an app was also created to complement the Ninebot Mini. The app can give local traffic updates, monitor the speed of the user, provide notifications about the scooter, and update the software.

Compared to a Segway, the Ninebot Mini is significantly cheaper and smaller. The Ninebot Mini costs £200, while a Segway costs £5,000. Since the Ninebot is smaller, it is intended to be ridden on flat concrete ground, but it can also be used on inclines of up to 15 degrees. It can also do 360-degree turns in the same area. The Ninebot is also a bit longer than other existing hoverboards or scooters and is said to be 60% faster.

This is the first product that the partnership between Xiaomi and startup company Ninebot has created after Ninebot acquired Segway this year. Xiaomi’s Ninebot Mini is being marketed as an environmentally-friendly means of transportation. However, some restrictions in certain parts of the world threaten sales.

In the United Kingdom, a law states that hoverboards cannot be used on roads or pavements because they are considered unlicensed motor vehicles. A recent announcement by the UK Metropolitan Police says that, according to the guidance of the Crown Prosecution Service, the self-balancing scooter can only be ridden within private property.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Given the chance, which would you buy: the original Segway or the cheaper Ninebot Mini? Why?
·         Do you agree with the rules given by the UK Metropolitan Police? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         If you could design your own scooter, what features would it have and why?
·         What other similar items would you want to be re-invented? Why?

December 16, 2015