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The ZBoard hands-free motorized skateboard

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February 21, 2012

The ZBoard claims to be the first weight-sensing electric skateboard

The ZBoard claims to be the first weight-sensing electric skateboard

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Laying claim to being the "world's first weight-sensing electric skateboard," the ZBoard delivers up to 400 watts of motor power via a simple, lean-and-go interface. The result is that riders will get up to 17 mph worth of speed without having to scuff their soles on the pavement.

Motorized skateboards, while awesome, are really nothing new. Over the past few years, we've seen models like the "Board of Awesomeness" (BOA), the Fiik all-terrain electric skateboard and the Metroboard, among others.

The innovation that the ZBoard offers in this increasingly crowded niche market is in its drive system. While the wireless remotes for the Fiik and Metroboard and the Microsoft Kinect-based sensor system on the BOA appear intuitive enough, the ZBoard has what seems like an even more intuitive solution: a weight-sensor system. The board includes front and rear foot pads that are connected to a micro-controller on the motor. The footpads sense pressure, and the micro-controller adjusts the speed of the motor in response to the pressure.

The ZBoard was designed in sunny southern California

To get the board moving, the rider simply leans forward on the front foot pad. To brake, he leans on the rear foot pad. The board automatically slows the rider's speed on downhills and can be stopped on a hill as well as on flat terrain.

The ZBoard Classic provides up to 5 miles (8 km) of range. Its top speed is listed at 15 mph (24 km/h). The more expensive ZBoard Pro, which uses lithium-ion rather than sealed lead acid batteries for lowered weight and increased performance, takes you as far as 10 miles (16 km) on a single charge with speeds up to 17 mph (27 km/h). The boards come with tires that are advertised as off-road, but they appear a little small for anything more rugged than smooth, even ground.

The ZBoard is designed by Hermosa Beach, California-based Intuitive Motion Inc. The Classic retails for US$599 and the Pro for $849. Both models are available for special pre-order prices ($499 and $749, respectively) until March 15. Deliveries will begin in March.

Source: ZBoard Shop via Gear Hungry

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
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6 Comments

Lucky!!

Ever take it off some some sweet jumps?

Facebook User
21st February, 2012 @ 08:36 pm PST

Try doing a rail slide on that battery box with a lithium battery, BOOM!

Denis Klanac
21st February, 2012 @ 10:52 pm PST

So... I did this about 2.5 years ago as a prototype for the UW-Madison Engineering Expo. I wonder if someone snagged my idea? Anyhow, as for that battery box issue, I suggest a skid-plate that won't ravage the battery box if you go off a curb. Just a suggestion!

halcyon_m
22nd February, 2012 @ 08:10 am PST

I have my own design for a powered "skate board" and was also thinking of this kind of accelerator/brake control method, because it would obviously be better than having a hand held remote... even if it is wireless.

But I can forsee a problem. What if you have a momentary "off balance" moment and you ACCIDENTLY shift your weight to either the front/accelerate or rear/brake, then it would create a sort of a negative feedback loop. say you accidently shift weight to back, which then causes the board to slow down which could then further throw you off balance (because you never intended to slow in the first place)

Also what about steering? A normal skateboar steers by shifting weight from side to side, but even so, with you feet place at the front and back of the board, and considering how narrow a board is, how good a job can it do determining the 2?

KushSmoka420
22nd February, 2012 @ 10:42 am PST

The method of accelerating and decelerating does not provide full freedom of manoeuvring, as the speed increases, and one simply wants to compensate, that would mean braking, even though that wasn't desired. If one would like to wheelie or turn with a wheelie, that would mean braking. I could think of a solution, but that would take a lot of space here.

Dawar Saify
22nd February, 2012 @ 03:35 pm PST

Hmmmm where are people going to ride this? Far as I know a motorized skateboard is banned on most public roads. However my invention the "Skate Scepter" is not.

With the Skate Scepter you can still do tricks as your board isn't weighed down by a big'ol battery.

Think2Make.com
28th February, 2012 @ 03:06 pm PST
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