Just like Marty McFly predicted in 1985’s Back to the Future, 2015 has proven to be the year where it’s perfectly normal to see someone riding a hoverboard. With a slew of inventors intent on joining in on this gliding revolution —heck, even Lexus unveiled a “hoverboard” this year— one thing this unique industry has in spades is its diverse array of interesting concepts. The next in line? An electrically-powered skateboard that utilizes a Segway-like gyroscope to simulate the effect of hovering. Don’t worry though, this thing looks a whole hell of a lot cooler than a Segway. Trust us.
Designed and manufactured by the California-based startup Hoverboard Technologies and inventor Robert Bigler, this hoverboard closely resembles the look of a modern skateboard, with just a few glaring differences. For starters, the deck features one giant rubber wheel situated directly in the center — instead of two wheels at the front and back — and packs an internal motor capable of propelling the board to speeds upwards of 16 miles per hour. While riding, its built-in gyroscope allows users to balance on the board with their feet placed on either side of the wheel — though judging by TechCrunch’s hands-on with the hoverboard, this seems easier said than done.
In addition to its technical specs, the hoverboard also boasts customizable LED lighting, a built-in Bluetooth speaker, and LCD readouts to give you a heads up on any pertinent alerts. According to Bigler’s website, the board is also capable of charging in just 16 minutes and allows for a ride of around ten to twelve miles on a single charge. Considering the fact it weighs in at roughly 25 pounds, we think it’s safe to say running into a dead battery with this thing would be far from ideal.
Like anything native to the world of futuristic tech, this hoverboard definitely comes with its share of caveats. One of the first things any rider will notice after stepping foot on one (or attempting to step foot on one), is just how damn hard it is to stay balanced. With a learning curve the size of Everest, even those who do more than dabble in board sports should experience their fair share of stumbles while starting out. Bigler himself says “mastering the Hoverboard is getting to the point where it becomes completely natural,” though he admits getting to this point could range from “weeks to a lifetime to truly master.”
Though perhaps the board’s biggest disadvantage is the fact Bigler intends to set the starting price of his invention at a whopping $4,000 when it hits Kickstarter on September 17. According to Bigler’s interview with TechCrunch, he doesn’t seem to mind if his Kickstarter campaign fails and just plans on making a few boards for his friends and family if it doesn’t hit its goal. In other words, you have roughly two and a half months to somehow find a way to become Robert Bigler’s best friend.