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Onewheel self-balancing electric skateboard outed at CES

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January 7, 2014

The Onewheel

The Onewheel

Image Gallery (21 images)

I don't know about you, but I know that when I pop out on my electric skateboard to do a spot of shopping, I always find myself thinking "hello – this would even more exciting with three fewer wheels." Apparently the people at California's Future Motion agree, judging from the Onewheel electric skateboard they've cooked up that is, cunningly named after the number of wheels it has (i.e. one).

A role traditionally associated with the four-wheeled artiste

Apparently inspired by the idea of the hover board and sharing a passing resemblance to the S-Walker, Future Motion founder Kyle Doerksen describes Onewheel as a self-balancing electric skateboard. "Plummeting cost of accelerometer and gyro sensors from smartphones, plus amazing motor and battery technology designed for larger EVs begged to be combined in a new way," Doerksen tells Gizmag. But the tech is controlled by an algorithm which Future Motion says it has been developing for years.

Doerksen points out that the unusual design lends itself to unique tricks (see the video below, I won't embarrass myself by attempting to use the lingo.)

Future Motion has a Kickstarter campaign to secure funding to build at least 100 units. Pledges get interesting at the US$1,299 mark, for which Future Motion is offering the first 20 Onewheels (with five left at the time of writing), rising to $1,299 after that.

For that money I'd want to try before buying, and, encouragingly, Future Motion is putting its Onewheels out there at CES for attendees to try out. Gizmag is on the scene, so if we are able to find out more about it (and, hopefully, give one a try), we'll be sure to let you know.

Finally, here's the specs list. Approximate unit conversations are as those provided by Future Motion:

  • Battery: 48 V lithium nano-phosphate (LiFePO4)
  • Controller: Custom 6 DOF MEMS IMU and BLDC driver. Self-balancing
  • Motor: 500 W continuous hub motor, direct drive
  • Speed: 12 mph (20 km/h)
  • Dimensions: 30 x 9 x 11.5 in (760 x 230 x 290 mm)
  • Range: 4 to 6 miles (6 to 9 km, depending on terrain and riding style)
  • Recharge time: 20 minutes with fast charger, 120 minutes with standard charger
  • Weight: 25 lb (11 kg)

Finally finally, there's the obligatory pretty video below.

Sources: Onewheel, Kickstarter

About the Author
James Holloway James lives in East London where he punctuates endless tea drinking with freelance writing and meteorological angst. Unlocking Every Extend Extra Extreme’s “Master of Extreme” achievement was the fourth proudest moment of his life.   All articles by James Holloway
6 Comments

This isn't new--this exact idea has been floating around for several years now. When I first heard of it, the obstacle to commercialization was that Segway's patents covered the idea, and Segway wasn't interested in licensing it.

Perhaps Segway's patents have expired, or they've agreed to a license. Or perhaps Future Motion has not done their homework.

justme70
7th January, 2014 @ 03:02 pm PST

Looks like the wet dream of a Personal Injury lawyer come true.

Enough people crash on Segways and the like to worry about this version.

If Segway do have a beef, they have deeper pockets than these dudes.

The Skud
7th January, 2014 @ 05:00 pm PST

price is too high for one mini directdrive, balancing gyroscope controller, and small lipo battery,

anyway you will need to upgrade to backpack lipo battery with cable to skate, because 6-9km is LOL range.

and if creators said nothing about riding to hills, skate cannot get hills.

Perfect idea, but I will wait mountain version of skate.

iperov
7th January, 2014 @ 10:49 pm PST

iperov,

Five hundred watts is more than enough to climb hills at 12mph. I think of 500W as "one unit of Lance Armstrong". As long as the designers did the thermal design well enough to keep it cool...

justme70
8th January, 2014 @ 08:42 am PST

This looks like it goes just fast and far enough for young guys to spatter in an appropriately decorative fashion while simultaneously involuntarily snaring property owners in litigation opportunities sufficient to waste far more money than this piece of crap could ever cost. Buying one of these is the least possible cost element here.

StWils
8th January, 2014 @ 10:46 am PST

Question..

Why do they need a 6DoF MEMS sensor??

Why didn't they make it 9DoF just to be at the cutting edge.

AS there is no lateral balancing (that is achieved by traditional gyroscopic reactions, and the FAT wheel.) this little beasty only needs a 2DoF sensor (or maybe 4DoF) to achieve all that it does.

ps. a very similar device has been demonstrated in either this, or similar gizmo websites previously.

Nice toy still.

MD
9th January, 2014 @ 03:12 am PST
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