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Onewheel - Self-Balancing Electric Skateboard

By: on January 11, 2014
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They say Onewheeling is like surfing the perfect wave or snowboarding on fresh powder, but without the requisite presence of an ocean or mountain. Hmmm. I wonder if the presence of oceans and mountains has been what caused me to fall continuously on my face and the exact boniest part of my buttocks every time I've tried surfing and snowboarding in the past. Maybe I'd have better luck gliding along pavement with the self-balancing Onewheel.

This modified electric skateboard looks like the chasm filled between unicycles and Marty McFly's hoverboard. Onewheel creators Future Motion further that line of thought with their description that using the board "gives you the feeling of flying." Invisible solid-state inertial sensors and algorithms balance the Onewheel and allow riders to propel it by leaning forward, and slow down by leaning back. I think steering still requires a mild amount of body awareness and athleticism, though Future Motion claims that most people can learn to surf the streets in a couple of minutes even without a background in board sports.

Onewheel's power stems from a 48V lithium nano-phosphate battery and a 500W (continuous) hub motor. The battery has a 4- to 6-mile (about 20 minutes) range depending on terrain, so the device could be practical for in-city commuting. A quick-charge option takes 20 minutes to re-juice the battery, and standard recharge times run around 2 hours. Max Onewheel speed is 12 mph.

Those interested in owning the forthcoming Onewheel can back its Kickstarter crowdfunding project through January 27, 2014.

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