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The Kinect-controlled, Windows 8 tablet-powered “Board of Awesomeness”

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January 11, 2012

Whooaaa boy - the rider puts the brakes on the 'Board of Awesomeness'

Whooaaa boy - the rider puts the brakes on the 'Board of Awesomeness'

Image Gallery (10 images)

When Microsoft asked gamers to get off the couch and get moving with the release of the Kinect motion controller in 2010, it's doubtful that zooming around the streets at speeds of up to 32 mph (51 km/h) was the kind of movement they had in mind. But as we've seen ever since unofficial open source drivers hit the Internet in 2010 and Microsoft came to the party with its official Kinect for Windows SDK last year, the Kinect has proven to be a remarkably flexible device. That flexibility now extends to a motion control interface for a motorized electric skateboard modestly dubbed by its creators, the "Board of Awesomeness."

Unveiled at CES 2012, the Board of Awesomeness is the creation of a team from Chaotic Moon, a mobile app-making studio that looks to have taken the "mobile" aspect of its business to the next level. The electric skateboard sees a Kinect Sensor fixed to the front of a longboard so it faces back at the rider to detect their movements and gestures. These are translated into commands used to control the board's 800 watt electric motor, which is powered by a 36 volt battery and can carry the rider at speeds of up to 32 mph. Thanks to its all-terrain tires, the board can also head off road.

The 'Board of Awesomeness' components

There's a "Phidget" interface module located on the underside of the board, while an as-yet-unreleased Samsung Windows 8 prototype tablet mounted on top of the front of the board acts as the central brain of the system. The touchscreen tablet allows the rider to not only visually monitor their gestures, but also turn the board on and off and manage speed settings. The board also apparently makes use of the tablet's GPS, accelerometer and voice recognition capabilities.

To get things rolling the rider simply raises their hands to activate the Kinect. They can control their speed by pushing their hands forward to accelerate or pulling them back to brake. As with non-Kinect-controlled skateboards, changing direction is done by leaning. While this control system might be counter-intuitive for board riders used to moving their arms around to maintain their balance, it does look like a lot of fun.

Unfortunately, since Chaotic Moon probably won't be developing the Board of Awesomeness beyond the research project stage, the closest most of us will get to experiencing a ride is through videos like the one below.

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag.   All articles by Darren Quick
3 Comments

If Chaotic Moon really are "Smarter than You" as their Logo says, how come they spent so much time and effort developing somthing so useless as a controller for a vehicle that doesn't need controlling?

Did the Segway fiasco not teach them anything?

Paulg
12th January, 2012 @ 02:42 am PST

@paulg: the board is obviously a proof of concept. The board is a lot cheaper than, say, a car or wheel chair that they may actually be aiming at controlling. Also think about remote applications once they get the controls hammered out.

Bryan Paschke
12th January, 2012 @ 12:09 pm PST

the death board

Joe Tomicki
21st February, 2012 @ 11:31 pm PST
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