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Hovertrax works like a pared-down Segway

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May 6, 2013

The Hovertrax from Inventist

The Hovertrax from Inventist

Image Gallery (7 images)

Inventist, the creative mind behind such contraptions as the Solowheel and Hydroglider, is back with something it calls the Hovertrax. Unfortunately not the Marty McFly-like personal hover vessel the name implies, Hovertrax is more akin to a smaller, lighter Segway-like personal transporter. The small, hands-free device is designed to be both easy to carry and easy to use.

Unlike the big, bulky chassis used by the Segway and other similar personal EVs, the Hovertrax is a small, 9-pound (4-kg) foot pod that can be stowed in a backpack. A sort of alternative to the Solowheel, the Hovertrax was designed to be a simpler vessel that can provide "immediate enjoyment for all ages."

Each of the two wheels is equipped with its own electric motor, gyro sensor and accelerometer. The motors are controlled via foot movements – press the toes of both feet gently down to move forwards or both heels down to move backwards. By pressing with one foot, you can turn and spin.

It sounds super-simple, but we're guessing there's a bit of a learning curve in developing skill at balancing and maneuvering with grace. The auto-balancing characteristic of the vehicle should help the rider stay balanced, and he or she can always step off onto stable ground if things go awry.

A breakdown of the Hovertrax's internals

The Hovertrax can travel up to 5 miles (8 km) and/or 30 minutes on a charge, reaching speeds of up to 5 mph. It only takes about an hour to charge the lithium-ion battery from a standard wall outlet.

Inventist is currently looking to raise Hovertrax development funds on Kickstarter. It will allocate that money toward purchasing machines, molds and product parts, as well as toward product testing. A bid of US$695 is the minimum required for pre-ordering an actual Hovertrax. Lesser bids will buy you some of Inventist's cheaper gear, such as a pair of Orbitwheels.

The Hovertrax has a pretty limited appeal. Inventist confirmed that it's best for riding on flat, smooth ground, such as paved trails at the park. It said that the device can handle an incline of about 15 percent, but we're guessing that going down a steep, sustained hill wouldn't be much fun. It's more of a novelty than a legitimate transportation device, and it's not really fast enough to be all that exciting. Inventist does say you can use it indoors, so it could be useful for trailing your spouse at the mall or covering the floor of a large warehouse. Overall, we think we'll save our $700 and get exercise by using something more traditional like a bike or skateboard.

You can see it in use in the following pitch video.

Source: Kickstarter

About the Author
C.C. Weiss Upon graduating college with a poli sci degree, Chris toiled in the political world for several years. Realizing he was better off making cynical comments from afar than actually getting involved in all that mess, he turned away from matters of government and news to cover the things that really matter: outdoor recreation, cool cars, technology, wild gadgets and all forms of other toys. He's happily following the wisdom of his father who told him that if you find something you love to do, it won't really be work.   All articles by C.C. Weiss
12 Comments

I like it but needs to go a bit faster. Also a bit expensive. Would be cool to do handstands on, if I could do a handstand.

JimD
6th May, 2013 @ 01:16 pm PDT

Hmmm, why not just walk? The best use I have seen for Segways have been for disabled people so that they can "stand" instead of being stuck in a sitting position in relationship to everyone else.

Rann Xeroxx
6th May, 2013 @ 01:45 pm PDT

1) Put handlebars on it

2) Make it got about twice as fast

Seriously, put lightweight, folding handlebars on this and it would make it a Segway killer. The learning curve will be too high without the handlebars. It will never sell. Since your feet will be controlling the machine, the handlebars will have no function except balance, and they can be made folding and super-light.

And, yes, it needs to be able to go about 10 mph to make it useful.

Do those two things and I'm in.

If not, not.

Mister D.
6th May, 2013 @ 02:48 pm PDT

Perfect for waitresses, postmen, hospital staff, people with appropriate disablements, kids toys, adapted for carrying weights if two could be linked. Perhaps adapted for a sort of roller skate or skateboard. Might find a use for soldiers, and as a remedial device for those who have problems keeping balance. Could certainly be used in a fun game of basketball, and a seated version for the elderly. I'm sure there are plenty of other applications that will come.

Stan Hayward
7th May, 2013 @ 02:34 am PDT

You wouldn't want to go fast on it with side by side wheels that small. If it hits a small bump it would eject you. The Segway suffers the same problem but to a lesser extent with larger wheels.

Daishi
7th May, 2013 @ 02:41 am PDT

Im in the "why not just walk" camp. I have a neighbor, overweight fellow with no apparent disability, who uses a Segway to walk his dog. I cringe every time I see him do it. Seems to me the essentially unavoidable time spent walking the dog could be used to round off some calories too.

Bob Ehresman
7th May, 2013 @ 06:29 am PDT

If these are light enough to carry would be perfect for transporting your self from the parking lot to the main mall and for use within the mall. From the demo it looks like one could also carry groceries from neighborhood store.

pmshah
7th May, 2013 @ 07:04 am PDT

re; Bob Ehresman

Apparent is a very important word. A blood flow restriction in the legs limits mobility without outward signs.

Slowburn
7th May, 2013 @ 09:57 pm PDT

this thing is awful close to spnkix! i bought a pair of spnkix couple weeks ago and enjoy them everyday. wow, the wheels look exact, as a matter of fact, i think hovertrax people just stole spnkix wheels...

kenkenken
8th May, 2013 @ 02:32 pm PDT

I am an owner of Robin-M1, (a self balancing personal transporter) similar to Segway.

But is is still bulky & a bit too heavy to carry, even though it is about 38 pounds and with Segway, it is impossible.

This Hovertrax is really ideal for many people who can easily carry it around & use it in any indoor places, mall, airport, hospital, ware house, etc etc.

I can even take it on my shopping holidays in overseas & shouldn't overload my baggage.

Imagine doing all the walking, it really kill one' feet.

BUT, this is the real BUT, the range is too short, in term of time > 30 minutes.

Imagine doing your shopping in the mall for a few hours, you end up not only carrying your purchases but also HoverTax.

I have been following the inventor product for quite sometime, especially the SoloWheel which I think it not very practical BUT this HoverTrax is really something.

I mean it is really practical EXCEPT the range > travel distance.

It must have at least about 10 miles range on a full charge then it will be really really good & I will buy one, price not important.

Have a nice day.

cheong
11th May, 2013 @ 01:19 pm PDT

Alright.. if it only lasts 30 minutes on a charge, at top speed of 5 mph, it should go..only 2.5 miles between charges.

Joshua Geyer
29th May, 2013 @ 06:25 pm PDT

Being someone who has broken an arm riding a Solowheel, and now has a steel plate in me, I think these are great as long as the self balancing doesn't fail.

Do not try to ride one of these things down a hill you will hurt yourself.

Being propelled by gravity and not by the motor in the wheels is a really bad idea.

Foxy1968
13th August, 2013 @ 07:15 pm PDT
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