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Segway CTO departs for leadership role on Apple's design team

post #1 of 44
Thread Starter 
Doug Field, the chief technology officer who's led Segway's engineering team since day one, is leaving his post at the electric vehicle maker to become a vice president of product design at Apple.

"Doug has been the driving force in making the Segway what it is today and will be sorely missed at the company," reads an official post made to the SegwayChat forums on Friday.

Field's has made a long career of managing and developing new products and manufacturing processes for the automotive and medical industries.

Before joining Segway, he worked for several years beginning in the late 90's at DEKA Research & Development, leading the prototype design and overall technical leadership for the INDEPENDENCE IBOT Mobility System.

Prior to that, he was the Manager of Process Development for Johnson & Johnson Medical, Inc. where he led the introduction of advanced manufacturing processes for high-volume medical device production.

Earlier in his career, Field assumed the role of vehicle development engineer and team leader at Ford Motor Company, focusing on the development of ride, handling, and noise and vibration characteristics on several car platforms.

The motives behind Apple's move to acquire Field are unclear and somewhat interesting given the reaction by chief executive Steve Jobs to the industrial design of the original Segway in 2003.

"I think it sucks," he said. "Its shape is not innovative, it's not elegant and it doesn't feel anthropomorphic."
post #2 of 44
I've seen a (I think) older model Segway and if I remember correctly, it had an interesting ignition/control/lock module piece that fit into the center console between the handle bars. It was about the size of an old tamagotchi unit and I think it held the ignition switch and the idea was that you could disengage it and take it with you when you parked the Segway.

As a modular, mechanic to electronic bridge, it could be that this guy is working on some of those Apple patents AI showed us about a removable and multi-purpose multi-touch/LCD unit that swaps between devices... just a thought.
post #3 of 44
VP of product design? One word. Scary.

post #4 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Doug Field, the chief technology officer who's led Segway's engineering team since day one, is leaving his post at the electric vehicle maker to become a vice president of product design at Apple.

...

The motives behind Apple's move to acquire Field are unclear and somewhat interesting given the reaction by chief executive Steve Jobs to the industrial design of the original Segway in 2003.

"I think it sucks," he said. "Its shape is not innovative, it's not elegant and it doesn't feel anthropomorphic."

How is it "interesting"? Your own article says the guy ran the engineering team, not the design team. There is design in engineering, but it means something different. They are different disciplines. Don't insinuate blame on him for something that probably wasn't his responsibility.
post #5 of 44
I have to say, the newer Segways are a lot of fun. The originals would use leaning for forward/back, and a handlebar knob for steering. Now it's ALL leaning--you lean left and right to steer (the whole handlebar column tilts sideways from the bottom). I don't need one, but it was fun to try!
post #6 of 44
What's the difference between Product Design and Industrial Design?? I assume Field will be reporting to Mr. Ive!
post #7 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by gilles_deleuze View Post

VP of product design? One word. Scary.


It doesn't seem the Segway was as life altering as its inventor had hoped, so it had to be sold to somebody...

Although that does look like a scene right out of a Hollywood movie... you know the ones that have mass murders, glorified explosions and destruction to beat the band, car chases and wrecks, etc. and then some of the people who star in them have the nerve to promulgate 'peace', 'no hate', 'no violence' and 'no war'!

Case in point, Angelina Jolie in "Wanted"! That's the UN Embassador of Goodwill I want!

Ten years ago, we had Steve Jobs, Bob Hope and Johnny Cash.  Today we have no Jobs, no Hope and no Cash.

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Ten years ago, we had Steve Jobs, Bob Hope and Johnny Cash.  Today we have no Jobs, no Hope and no Cash.

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post #8 of 44
i think this is the beginning of iCar...
post #9 of 44
Perhaps he will help Apple rethink personal transportation, and come up with something compelling: a clean, green, anti-addiction machine.
post #10 of 44
A Segway uses some of the most advanced gyroscope technology. The iPhone teem probably would appreciate the experience in the field that he will bring.
post #11 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

How is it "interesting"? Your own article says the guy ran the engineering team, not the design team. There is design in engineering, but it means something different. They are different disciplines. Don't insinuate blame on him for something that probably wasn't his responsibility.

Cool it Jeff - it's too early in the morning for grumpiness.. The article is both interesting and wholly justified. It's clearly stated that 'the guy' ran the engineering team, but is being hired as the VP of design... To me this is big news, it's not every day that Apple hires a new designer at this level, now Jonathan Ive has someone to play with...

Plus it's an article that isn't about the iPhone, which on its own would is enough to pique my interest. Few and far between these days...

Jimzip
"There's no time like the present, and the only present you'll never get, is time." - Me
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"There's no time like the present, and the only present you'll never get, is time." - Me
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post #12 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimzip View Post

Cool it Jeff - it's too early in the morning for grumpiness.. The article is both interesting and wholly justified. It's clearly stated that 'the guy' ran the engineering team, but is being hired as the VP of design... To me this is big news, it's not every day that Apple hires a new designer at this level, now Steve Ives has someone to play with...

I didn't say the article wasn't interesting. I was focusing on something the article said was interesting, but the last two paragraphs had an undercurrent that didn't seem justified.

I don't think your interpretation explains the inclusion of the Jobs quote at the end, including that quote implies something else.
post #13 of 44
Maybe this guy can bring some sanity back to Apple's hardware designs so you don't need to use suction cups and putty knives to open an iMac or Mac Mini. Or totally disassemble a laptop just to replace basic components.
post #14 of 44
Woz will be delighted.
post #15 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Haggar View Post

Maybe this guy can bring some sanity back to Apple's hardware designs so you don't need to use suction cups and putty knives to open an iMac or Mac Mini. Or totally disassemble a laptop just to replace basic components.

That's not a priority or care really. As long as a certified technician can do the same task consistently without breaking pieces, it's fine.

It's always been that way and proves to be no bane for the company.

(The original Macintosh required, what, foot-long Torx screws? And Jobs STILL forced his electrical team to reprint the circuitry to look more pleasing.)
post #16 of 44
Let the beginning of iHouse products begin.
Can't wait!
Apple had me at scrolling
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Apple had me at scrolling
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post #17 of 44
If you have not read the link supplied for Mr. Jobs and the Seqway, I recommend it. It gives some good insight into how he thinks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ivan_13 View Post

A Segway uses some of the most advanced gyroscope technology. The iPhone teem probably would appreciate the experience in the field that he will bring.

That is the true brilliance of the Segway. For decades we've seen Sony and others struggle to make a bipedal android that could actually walk on various surfaces.

Dean Kamen's new water distiller is interesting. I knew he was working with Sterling engine patents but I figures it was for a form of transportation. His new device distills water from any source without chemicals, and while it uses power to operate, a byproduct of the sterling engine is that it generates power, too. So a solared powered device cold generate clean water all day and then have power backed up to batteries for use at night.
http://gizmodo.com/370698/colbert-fi...ater-distiller
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post #18 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by fuyutsuki View Post

Woz will be delighted.

Does this mean that Woz will dictate SegWays to every Apple employee, take over Jobs's position as CEO and play Take 2 as a Sculley clone? I hope not...
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post #19 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by gilles_deleuze View Post

VP of product design? One word. Scary.


iPhone hackers, we're coming for you!
post #20 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by iVlad View Post

Let the beginning of iHouse products begin.
Can't wait!

I agree. But I hope they drop the "i" thing. It's getting old.
post #21 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by hankx32 View Post

i think this is the beginning of iCar...

ROFL .... too funny
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Long on AAPL so biased. Strong advocate for separation of technology and politics on AI.
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post #22 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimzip View Post

Cool it Jeff - it's too early in the morning for grumpiness..

Oh come on that wouldn't be Jeff then now would it lol
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post #23 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by probably View Post

That's not a priority or care really. As long as a certified technician can do the same task consistently without breaking pieces, it's fine.

And that's the problem. Once a Mac laptop has been opened up, it's never looks quite the same after it has been put back together. Gaps start to appear between the top and bottom case where they did not exist before. The flimsy tabs in the top case often break off. The tiny philips screws are very soft and prone to stripping. The hard drive is connected to the logic board by a flimsy ribbon cable rather than a direct plug-in connection. The DVD slot in the 15 inch MacBook Pro often becomes bent during normal usage, which makes inserting or removing disks impossible. This requires removing every single internal component and then replacing the bottom case.

As for the aluminum iMac, every take apart procedure requires first removing the glass panel and handling the bare lcd screen. You have to be an Intel Bunny Man working in a fab cleanroom if you hope to disassemble and reassemble the new iMac without trapping dust or leaving prints behind the glass panel. As a result, iMacs are returned to the customer with specks of dust behind the glass panel.

So no, things are not fine right now. These design issues are affecting customer service. The ridiculously complicated, time consuming procedures that Apple expects technicians to do are not realistic for a field service environment. And it's going to get worse as Apple's market share increases and repair shops start seeing more Macs. Apple expects service providers to support their customers, but Apple needs to do more in order to make that possible.
post #24 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

If you have not read the link supplied for Mr. Jobs and the Seqway, I recommend it. It gives some good insight into how he thinks.

I have to second the recommendation for this article if you haven't read it yet. What a fascinating story: put Jobs in a room with a bunch of other high-tech bigwigs and he alone zeroes in on the crux of the design and marketing issues at hand.
post #25 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Silencio View Post

I have to second the recommendation for this article if you haven't read it yet. What a fascinating story: put Jobs in a room with a bunch of other high-tech bigwigs and he alone zeroes in on the crux of the design and marketing issues at hand.

Of course, Jobs is a marketer at heart... a salesman... in addition to his knowledge of computers.

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post #26 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by ivan_13 View Post

A Segway uses some of the most advanced gyroscope technology. The iPhone teem probably would appreciate the experience in the field that he will bring.

It amazes me that ONLY IVAN saw the wisdom on bringing this guy in Apple's house. Segway's gyroscope technology is very important to Apple's future motion sensor technology, like in the iPhone and iPod Touch or a future Wii type controller. It sets the stage for new and better game controllers for these and future products.
post #27 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Of course, Jobs is a marketer at heart... a salesman... in addition to his knowledge of computers.

Especially interesting were these lines:

"Partly, explained Tim, because giving our code to someone else would be a great risk. Not a good reason, in Jobs's view, because the code could easily be reverse-engineered."

"Plus, Singapore was a nest of pirates, and the company would end up spending a fortune fighting them."

"We have a few things they can't get," said Dean. "Specialty components with only one source."

"They'll figure out a way around that," said Jobs.
post #28 of 44
The guy is a specialist in getting things actually made and brought to market. He'll be the route for more of Jonny Ive's 'visions' to actually hit the shops. Good hire.
post #29 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

If you have not read the link supplied for Mr. Jobs and the Seqway, I recommend it. It gives some good insight into how he thinks.



That is the true brilliance of the Segway. For decades we've seen Sony and others struggle to make a bipedal android that could actually walk on various surfaces.

Dean Kamen's new water distiller is interesting. I knew he was working with Sterling engine patents but I figures it was for a form of transportation. His new device distills water from any source without chemicals, and while it uses power to operate, a byproduct of the sterling engine is that it generates power, too. So a solared powered device cold generate clean water all day and then have power backed up to batteries for use at night.
http://gizmodo.com/370698/colbert-fi...ater-distiller

Dr Flammond:
"...So revolutionary, it was capable of removing the salt of over 500 million gallons of sea water a day. Do you realize what that could mean to the starving nations of the earth?"

Nick:
"Wow, they would have enough salt to last them forever."
post #30 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Booga View Post

Dr Flammond:
"...So revolutionary, it was capable of removing the salt of over 500 million gallons of sea water a day. Do you realize what that could mean to the starving nations of the earth?"

Nick:
"Wow, they would have enough salt to last them forever."

What is that from?
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post #31 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

What is that from?

The movie "Top Secret". A classic.
post #32 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinney57 View Post

The guy is a specialist in getting things actually made and brought to market. He'll be the route for more of Jonny Ive's 'visions' to actually hit the shops. Good hire.

Spot on.

"Haggar" understands also, although the exaggerated rant disguises his point.

This has nothing to do with any specific technology that Segway uses like gyroscopes etc. They are hiring a worker, not buying Segways patents.

Apple is just addressing it's recent "fit and finish" problems by hiring one of the best guys in the world at working out such problems. In combination with Ives talents, this will almost guarantee that quality don't get any worse, and may actually improve.
In Windows, a window can be a document, it can be an application, or it can be a window that contains other documents or applications. Theres just no consistency. Its just a big grab bag of monkey...
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In Windows, a window can be a document, it can be an application, or it can be a window that contains other documents or applications. Theres just no consistency. Its just a big grab bag of monkey...
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post #33 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post

Spot on.

"Haggar" understands also, although the exaggerated rant disguises his point.

This has nothing to do with any specific technology that Segway uses like gyroscopes etc. They are hiring a worker, not buying Segways patents.

Apple is just addressing it's recent "fit and finish" problems by hiring one of the best guys in the world at working out such problems. In combination with Ives talents, this will almost guarantee that quality don't get any worse, and may actually improve.

Self-balancing rolling iMac... here we come!

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Get the lowdown on the coming collapse:  http://www.cbo.gov/publication/45010

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post #34 of 44
I'd love to see Apple compete for the lead in the fledgling personal robotics market. Let's face it, Sony is in the game (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/3330183.stm), as is Honda (http://www.honda-robots.com/english/...frameset2.html) and Microsoft (http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/robotics/default.aspx), to name a few.

Apple would seem to "fit" the area of personal robotics to a tee. They know how to make software, understand synthetic speech and speech / text recognition, know something about manufacturing, battery power, etc., and of course they know a great deal about human interface and overall good design.

Back when Bill Gates told his mom that he envisioned a personal computer in every home, few people at the time believed it would ever happen. I think the day will come when every home has at least one personal robot, and I'd love to see Apple be at the vanguard.
post #35 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by macintel4me View Post

What's the difference between Product Design and Industrial Design?? I assume Field will be reporting to Mr. Ive!

To second JeffDM's comment, "Product Design" is indeed probably a very different thing from "Industrial Design" and I don't think that this position is closely related to what Jonathan Ive's group does. I think it has more to do with the system design & electrical design of Apple's products.
post #36 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by coffeetime View Post

I'd love to see Apple compete for the lead in the fledgling personal robotics market. Let's face it, Sony is in the game (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/3330183.stm), as is Honda (http://www.honda-robots.com/english/...frameset2.html) and Microsoft (http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/robotics/default.aspx), to name a few.

Apple would seem to "fit" the area of personal robotics to a tee. They know how to make software, understand synthetic speech and speech / text recognition, know something about manufacturing, battery power, etc., and of course they know a great deal about human interface and overall good design.

Back when Bill Gates told his mom that he envisioned a personal computer in every home, few people at the time believed it would ever happen. I think the day will come when every home has at least one personal robot, and I'd love to see Apple be at the vanguard.

I completely agree with you. One day, not far off (as opposed to "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...") helper robots will be commonplace. Both the Japanese and Korean governments have committed to massive robotics programs with the goal of creating assistant 'bots for their elderly populations. With the enormous shortfall of workers just around the proverbial bend, these robots will be very necessary for societies on all continents to make it through the next 25 to 35 years. Eventual strong AI will also enable astounding abilities for these robo-butlers and companions.

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post #37 of 44
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post #38 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by probably View Post

That's not a priority or care really. As long as a certified technician can do the same task consistently without breaking pieces, it's fine.

It's always been that way and proves to be no bane for the company.

(The original Macintosh required, what, foot-long Torx screws? And Jobs STILL forced his electrical team to reprint the circuitry to look more pleasing.)

repair efficiency is important, especially to corporations. If it takes 15min to replace a hard drive on a Dell & 45min on a Mac this has to be calculated into the IT repair costs. You can swap a whole motherboard in a Dell in 30min & the same process takes about 2 hours on a Mac.

True you replace a lot fewer parts on a Mac but these are things that must be considered. Technicians make about 10 - 20 bucks an hour, that can add up quick when you are looking at double time in Mac repairs.
post #39 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

If you have not read the link supplied for Mr. Jobs and the Seqway, I recommend it. It gives some good insight into how he thinks.



That is the true brilliance of the Segway. For decades we've seen Sony and others struggle to make a bipedal android that could actually walk on various surfaces.

Dean Kamen's new water distiller is interesting. I knew he was working with Sterling engine patents but I figures it was for a form of transportation. His new device distills water from any source without chemicals, and while it uses power to operate, a byproduct of the sterling engine is that it generates power, too. So a solared powered device cold generate clean water all day and then have power backed up to batteries for use at night.

http://gizmodo.com/370698/colbert-fi...ater-distiller

The reason the gyroscope technology is considered brilliant is because the best gyroscope technologies are tied up in military guidance systems.
post #40 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by hezekiahb View Post

repair efficiency is important, especially to corporations. If it takes 15min to replace a hard drive on a Dell & 45min on a Mac this has to be calculated into the IT repair costs. You can swap a whole motherboard in a Dell in 30min & the same process takes about 2 hours on a Mac.

True you replace a lot fewer parts on a Mac but these are things that must be considered. Technicians make about 10 - 20 bucks an hour, that can add up quick when you are looking at double time in Mac repairs.

That's a non issue where I work. If my box dies they replace it with another one. They don't fix any hardware. They send it all out. Maybe it impacts TCO but no one where I work is pulling out a screwdriver to swap a harddrive or motherboard.
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