David Robinson

November 13, 2003


David Robinson graduated with his bachelors in Mechanical Engineering from Brigham Young University in 1994. He immediately started graduate work, continuing with Mechanical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His masters work dealt with the development of a rapid prototyping technology called 3D Printing, a layered manufacturing process. His doctoral research took place at the MIT Leg Laboratory. David’s dissertation focused on high fidelity, high power force controlled actuators. These actuators were used for dynamically stabilized walking and running robots developed in his research group.

At the completion of his doctoral program in 2000, David started work on a project, called “Ginger”, for the company that was to eventually become Segway LLC. After almost two years of strict confidentiality, David was relieved to finally show his family and friends that he had actually been doing something at work. David was responsible for system dynamics development of the Segway HT i-series, launched in December of 2001. More recently, David directed the system dynamics development and validation for Segway’s recently released second model, the Segway HT p-series. He is presently engaged in further core technology development for Segway.

David enjoys reading, swimming, biking, running, skiing and many other dynamically stabilized activities. He balances life too by staying actively involved with his family, church, and community. David is the proud father of three wonderful children and husband to a most incredible wife. David is a native of Provo, UT and is happy to be back home visiting his alma matter.


The operation of the Segway HT has been described in the popular press as “magic.” But, the Segway HT is a real system and real systems have physical limits. The vast majority of engineering time in the development of a revolutionary product is spent in discovering, understanding, and dealing with those physical limits. In this presentation, I discuss a few of the major challenges in the development of the Segway HT with regard to the physical limits of the machine. I also talk about some of the practices fostered in our company culture that specifically address working at the limits.