Source : www.mashable.com
When you think about electric vehicles, skateboards are probably not first on the list. But thanks to new tech upgrades, the toy which was long considered just for teenagers is breathing new life into daily commutes. And not only do some use remote control technology, they can even be controlled with your mind.
With 50% of all trips people take in cars being under 5 miles and the last mile of public transportation routes often left for walking, manufacturers are starting to market electric skateboarding as an alternative eco-friendly way to beat traffic and save on gasoline.
“The electric skateboard is becoming a valid commuting option for anyone with balance,” said William Hurley, the co-founder of electric skateboarding company Chaotic Moon. “In fact, in the past two years several new companies have emerged to try and grab a share of this emerging market.”
Perhaps the two biggest trends popping up in the electric skateboarding market is control systems and battery options, he says.
“Several manufacturers have created new ways of interfacing with the boards, including new handheld radio controls and special inserts on the decks to allow hands-free operations,” Whurley says. “By far the biggest innovation in electric skateboards so far comes from Sanjay Dastoor and the team at Boosted Boards, who have created an amazing board that is as beautiful from a physical perspective as it is from a technical one.”
Boosted Boards, which started as a Kickstarter project and received nearly $500,000 in funding (beating its $100,000 goal), is touted as the world’s lightest electric vehicle. It weighs less than a bicycle at 12 pounds and can be charged through a normal wall outlet in 15 minutes.
The motor is small enough to fit in your hand and features parts purchased from a toy store. It’s so powerful you could ride the board up the hills of San Francisco at about 20 MPH. It comes with a hand-held remote so you can control acceleration and go in reverse.
“This uses 20 times less energy for every mile or kilometer you travel than a car, which means not only is it fast to charge and cheap to build, it also reduces the footprint of your energy use in terms of your transportation,” Dastoor said during a recent TED talk. “Instead of looking at large amounts of energy for each person to get around, now you can look at much smaller amounts and more sustainable transportation. The next time you think about a vehicle, we hope that, like us, you are thinking about something new.”
Meanwhile, the skateboards coming out of Chaotic Moon are among the first to incorporate brain control technology. Skateboarders wear a headset which reads your brains output in the form of brain waves (beta, alpha, theta and delta). It then transmits those signals over Bluetooth to a Samsung tablet computer running Windows 8, which is attached to the skateboard. It interprets that data and converts it into analog instructions for the board.
“Electric skateboards are already becoming more popular as a means of intra-city commuting, and brain computer interfaces are growing in popularity as the price of the technologies continues to drop and the capabilities get more refined,” Whurley says.
Moving forward, Whurley says we might see a way to connect the directions on a smartphone to the board.
“But the top advancement right now that manufacturers are focusing on is battery power and some safety features, such as proximity and other sensors that would be very useful to the novice skater,” he added.
Do you think electric skateboards are a fun fad, or could they become a more mainstream way to get around? Let us know in the comments below.
Image via Boosted Boards