Hoverboard: The Next Evolution in Personal Electric Mobility
Hoverboard: The Next Evolution in Personal Electric Mobility
Ride the experience of surfing streets on our one-wheeled, gyro-stabilized personal electric vehicle that feels like you're hovering
Ride the experience of surfing streets on our one-wheeled, gyro-stabilized personal electric vehicle that feels like you're hovering Read more
About this project
Experience The Feeling of Flight.
The Hoverboard is the most thrilling imaginable form of personal transportation. Our unique self-balancing system uses ground contacting sonar to float the rider over every contour.
What Makes The Hoverboard So Awesome?
The Hoverboard is a Tesla, compressed down to scooter-size. We’ve designed the components that deliver the MOST POWER of any comparable PEV (Personal Electric Vehicle), unprecedented Range/Weight, Power/Weight and Power/Volume ratios.
Thoughts from a One Wheel owner
Tilt forward to accelerate, tilt back to brake or go the other way - simple as that.
The Drive Unit
At the center of the Hoverboard is the “Drive Unit”. This removable module that contains the Direct-Drive, Industrial Class BLDC (Brushless Direct-Current) servomotor, bearings and position sensors. The Drive Unit is where most of the manufactured cost are concentrated. The drive unit is “Smart”, with a small micro-controller embedded to store all of it’s unique characteristics and present those to the Motor Control Unit. With this arrangement, Drive Units are simply interchangeable without any “tuning” or other calibration necessary – just swap and go. It is possible that in the future, there will be alternative Drive Units with different power levels or operating characteristics.
The Hoverboard is designed to be personalized. Custom program all aspects of your Hoverboard Experience, less only those directly related to safety.
If your Hoverboard gets lost or stolen, report it to us and we can make sure no thief will benefit.
Just because you were bold enough to get the first run doesn’t mean your Hoverboard will be obsolete when the next generation comes out. We designed the Hoverboard to be modular so you can EASILY upgrade parts on your own and always keep it current.
We designed the Hoverboard so you can take apart the components and put them back easily. You don’t have to send it back to replace the basics like tires or new LCD screen. Just order the part and install it with a screwdriver. Gash your board? No problem, just buy a new shell and switch it out yourself.
Not only can you maintain your own Hoverboard - you can improve it! Whether it is by custom programming, or installing new and improved batteries - YOU ARE IN CONTROL.
Mobile App Dashboard
Your Smartphone is your window into the Hoverboard, and the app is designed to fully access the countless features the Hoverboard offers. These are just some of the things you can control with the App:
- Activate your Hoverboard
- Check charge level and battery health
- Set Speed Limit (for each setup user)
- Lock your Hoverboard
- Log riding data, max-speed, avg-speed, distance traveled, etc.
- Protect your Hoverboard from theft
- Customize the lighting
- Customize the LED Bar Graphs
- Play Music and customize sound
The World Is A Buzz!
Fellow Inventors, Innovators, and Visionaries... We Need Your Help.
We've poured our hearts and souls into making the Hoverboard everything it can possibly be. To do that, virtually every metal and plastic component in the design is FULLY-CUSTOM. That means the tooling burden on us is enormous. We have dozens of molds and dies to pay for before we will get the manufactured unit-cost to below our sales price. All-up, the cost will be about $1M. If the community is passionate enough about the Hoverboard to meet us half-way, we are ready to match that and START STAMPING THESE THINGS OUT!
Is there a market for the TESLA of Personal Electric Vehicles? Please buy one right now, right here, and shout YES!
Who We Are: Hoverboard Technologies
Making personal transportation awesome is just another day at the office. Our hope is that the Hoverboard inspires a personal electric vehicle movement and that the technology we've developed adds to the evolution of green energy.
The Hoverboard is the brainchild of Robert Bigler: a designer and an engineer with a passion for automation and electric vehicles. With a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, he taught himself electronics and computer programming to develop extremely compact and flexible motion-control and automation products. After growing his first company Animatics to be a global force among multi-billion-dollar competitors, Robert sold it and created Equilia, a cutting-edge incubator in the Silicon Valley.
Detailed Tech Specs
The Drive unit slides up into the “Deck” from the bottom and attaches to the Deck with four screws. Each of the four attach points are actually Load Cells. These load cells weigh the rider to both determine whether the rider is actually on the board or not, as well as offer a measure of the rider’s weight for possible use in the future either by us to modify the tuning characteristics to match the rider’s weight, or for the user to access for their own programming.
On each side of the Drive unit, inside the deck, are two compartments. One holds the Motor Control Unit, and the other holds the Onboard Charger. The Motor Control unit is an Industrial Class, full Four-Quadrant BLDC Motor control and drive with more than 200 Amps of peak power capability. It is over-designed to future-proof itself against potential Drive Unit options in years to come where such options might offer even greater power.
The Onboard Charger is a very unique design that can take any voltage between 12 and 48 VDC. Its charging port has a custom connector presenting 40Amp power pins for “Super Charging”, as well as CAN (Control Area Network) signals to communicate to the outside power supply in such circumstances. When power is detected at the charging port, the Onboard Charger will send a CAN message to ask the outside power source how much current can be drawn.
If it is a Hoverboard Technologies power source, then the Onboard Charger will get an answer and then draw that much current to maximize the charging rate. If it does not get an answer, then it will draw a default amount of current that can then be increased or decreased with the PDA/Phone App. Care must be taken not to tell the Hoverboard to draw more power than the outside power supply can offer.
The limit of the onboard charger to regulate power per the needs of the onboard Lithium-Ion batteries is 10 Amps. Supercharging (well above 10A) is accomplished by the Hoverboard bypassing its internal regulation circuits and hard-connecting the charger port pins to an external, Hoverboard-Proprietary, Supercharger. The Onboard Charger sends the external Supercharger constant instructions, in real-time, to regulate current as necessary to safely Supercharge the batteries at the fastest possible rate. Hoverboard Technologies intends to disseminate Hoverboard Superchargers in densely populated suburban areas. Regular charging is already so fast, it makes little sense to Supercharge at home, although the Supercharger will certainly be available to anyone.
The majority of the Hoverboard Deck is occupied by two, identical battery packs. While the packs are removable and replaceable, this entails taking the Hoverboard apart and is not something that would be done in the field to restore charge. They are not “quick-release”. Supercharging and/or charging with an additional pack while riding are the answers to extending range.
Each pack is “Smart”, and has a controller to manage and balance the charging, aka a “BMS” or “Battery Management System”. Each pack has digital memory and “black-box” type recording, preserving data relating to its entire usage history and state-of-health. Each individual battery is temperature-monitored, even though the Hoverboard already uses the safest cells available on the market. Battery technology is improving by double-digit percentages every year, so the Hoverboard’s battery packs and their connectivity are designed to render them easily and seamlessly upgraded in the future.Each battery pack surrounds a small cavity in each end of the board that houses the ground-sensing Sonar Modules.
The Sonar Modules ping the ground to get an accurate measure if the distance between each end of the Hoverboard and the ground below. The ends of the Hoverboard are tipped-up to keep sure-footing as the Sonar Modules causes it to tip as necessary to seek a level that is parallel to even the sloped surface. The Sonar Modules also warn the Hoverboard of small, but abrupt obstacles such that when the Hoverboard calculates these detected obstacles to be reaching the wheel, the appropriate burst of power is already prepared for deployment, minimizing “lurch” and keeping the riding experience as pure as possible.
At the tips of the Hoverboard reside what we call the “User Modules”. These are modules that house and control most interaction with the User. With four screws, they can drop out the bottom of the deck, without the deck-halves been separated, for easy-access as necessary. The User Modules contain the LCD Bar-Graph displays, Bluetooth communications channels, head-and-tail lighting, perimeter lighting, speakers and buttons. User status or warnings can be broadcast through the speakers, but they can also be used to play music, making the Hoverboard also perform as a mini-boom-box. Even we don’t know what the buttons are for. We just put them there. If you personalize your Hoverboard with custom programming in our “Hover Script”, they are available to you for User-Input.
Risks and challenges
By looking at the prototypes and their performance it can be seen that the hardware and mission-critical software is finished. What is not so obvious is that all the components are not only functionally designed, but they are already designed for manufacture with our extensive combined experience, and ready to tool.
Still, we are currently iterating the design one last time to maximize the modularity and user-serviceability. This is a challenge, but we feel these will be empowering features that are very unique to the Hoverboard and valued by our owner/riders.
While we also have extensive combined experience in product safety testing and certification, that is one exercise that can inject unpredictable delay in the process of taking a product to market. We have applied all that we know to ensure the certification process will go smoothly, but one can never say for sure there won’t be any delays.
There are some exotic components in the Hoverboard, like the custom motor and large ring-bearings that have very long lead-times. The great thing about the Kickstarter venue, however, is that it gives us a preview of how to scale our deliveries so we have the runway to make our purchases of these components very early and in appropriate numbers.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
The Hoverboard is NOT a beefed-up scooter with a wheel removed. It is a Tesla, compressed down to scooter-size. The Quality, Performance and Capability of the Hoverboard are what drive the cost. Of all Personal Electric Vehicles [PEV], we pay more for the components that go inside so we can deliver the MOST POWER of any comparable PEV, unprecedented Range/Weight, Power/Weight and Power/Volume ratios. Rapid Charging nobody can touch and serviceability that sets an entirely new standard in the industry. The Hoverboard is made of Metal, not Plastic and is designed, not just as the most fun board sport you’ve ever tackled, but also as a serious, long-range and lasting form of portable transportation sporting every possible amenity.
Half the price of a Jet-Ski or Snow Mobile, TWICE THE FUN, and you don’t need a Lake or Snow!!! Ride it right out your front-door and all the way to work!
1) Quality – The greatest cost driver for the Hoverboard stems from the choice to make the product of unprecedented quality. This has permeated every component choice and the benefits are greater up-time, seldom being stranded, and reduced maintenance costs, including shipping and other taxing logistics. Of course, quality adds up-front cost, but delivers tremendous savings over time. The Hoverboard is made of Metal, not Plastic and all of the components are similarly of Industrial Quality. Don’t compare the Hoverboard to a scooter that you expect to be junk in a year.
2) Performance – While the Hoverboard may hold a position at the high end of purchase-price, part of the actual “value” can be found in looking at its ratios, like Range/$, Power/$, Power/Weight, Charge-time/Mile. The Industrial-Class BLDC Direct-Drive Servomotor is a major contributor to the unit cost, as is compactness of the design. Compressing the Drive Unit into a narrow disk shape with maximum heat dissipation out the stationary, ribbed side-walls drove us to some very expensive, large-diameter “Ring Bearings”. You see the benefit borne out in the Power to Volume and Power to Weight ratios, as well as the virtually SILENT operation. Bottom-line, it is more money, but it is much more product to the point where based on the overall superior ownership experience, the Hoverboard actually delivers the best overall value.
3) User Serviceability – The Hoverboard’s most apparent novelty is the surfing-on-land experience, but deeper than that, what sets the Hoverboard so completely apart from any remotely similar product is that it is designed to be User-Serviced, and beyond that, even User-Enhanced. Anyone who is reasonably handy with tools can break the Hoverboard down into its individual components and put it back together. Wear out a tire? Scratch the LCD? Gash the deck? – Don’t torture yourself with that terrible feeling that you’ve done something wrong or made a mistake that will be staring you in the face forever, or force you to “send it back again…”. Feel the power of being in control. Wake-up to an entirely new ownership experience – that you own your Hoverboard; it doesn’t own you. Just buy the cheap piece-part that it needs, and swap it out yourself. Make your Hoverboard look new again, any time you want. I can tell you first-hand, the very first time you take your Hoverboard completely apart and put it all back together, you thereafter relate to it in a completely different way; it truly becomes YOURS. What’s more, you can even program it with our “Hoverscript” to be entirely your personalized experience, mix and match components, upgrade components, evaluate options – whatever you can imagine. This capability has added cost to the Hoverboard’s development and some cost to each unit, but the post-purchase savings in money, anguish and hassle FAR OUTWEIGH the up-front additional cost. Don’t compare the Hoverboard’s purchase-price to that of other products. Look forward in time, and consider the total cost of ownership to truly understand the value. The Hoverboard delivers empowerment where other more typical products invoke frustration.
4) Future Proofing – Many people are surprised at how mature the Hoverboard design seems to be. This is no accident. What we chose to do was develop a 3rd generation product FIRST. This was costly in both Effort and Time. Products that don’t do this, however, end up rewarding their most precious “Early Adopters” with FAST OBSOLESCENCE. It saddens us to be the first to buy something only to find out that if we had just waited, we would have gotten something better. At Hoverboard Technologies, we don’t see ourselves as selling a product; we see ourselves as selling an overall experience with an emphasis on the ownership and usage period. That’s not just because we are “super-nice” (although we definitely are). Our BRAND and what it means in the marketplace are what are what we wish to build next. Fast Obsolescence is terrible and to eliminate that as best we could we made two major investments. First, we future-proofed each individual component. You may have noticed us going a little “overboard” on each aspect, from charging, to range, lighting, etc. We did that for one major reason – we wanted to deliver one great product from the very beginning – fully great from the very first day, so THAT configuration would LONG SURVIVE any foreseeable cause of obsolescence. Second, we did what we described before, we made the Hoverboard modular and User Serviceable so the owner could absorb improvements into their original investment, without being left out, or having to buy an entirely new product in the near future. So when you consider the cost of the Hoverboard, consider the cost of buying two or three of something else. Then also consider the after-purchase value of OTHER products who’s manufacturers work diligently, albeit unintentionally, to render the unit you bought - tired and obsolete.
Service – We have to admit, the Hoverboard team started with some “old timers”. We remember, ‘back in the day’, when companies were more interested in their ongoing relationship with their customer than in focusing on simply getting that first-time buy. There is a reason many companies today have no address on their website, and sometimes even no phone number. By reducing the ways a customer can contact the company, there are tremendous short-term cost savings that can be directly made to reduce the list price of the product. Part of the Hoverboard’s price is simply to maintain the infrastructure to offer the greatest possible level of customer service. We don’t hold you off with just an email address or web-form. At the same time, we realize that you might consider this good OR bad. Whether we realize it or not, all of us are constantly voting with our pocket-book and often for the poorest possible experience or service. We search out the lowest possible air-fare, and then complain that the seats are crammed together or that the service is awful. Or, we say, “that’s fine, I just want to get from point A to point B”, which is maybe wiser, but still not what we are about at Hoverboard Technologies. As you might expect, the Hoverboard is about the journey, and we have simply chosen to position ourselves so that the total Hoverboard Journey is FIRST CLASS.
It's 2015 and yes, we would all love to see a flying Hoverboard. Unfortunately the science just isn't there yet for an actual flying board. Yeah there are a couple of hovering boards like the Hendo and the Lexus, but only if you have special surfaces - and in the case Lexus if you have access to one specially built park in Barcelona, a Pro Skater with 6 months experience on your board in that park, and a whole lot of liquid nitrogen. But even those boards don't actually fly! And those boards you can't take anywhere except for very specific places with special surfaces. This is the very first board of its kind that you can take anywhere and gives you the experience - the feeling - of hovering. You feel like you're hovering on the Hoverboard. So while we're waiting for science to give us actual flying boards, this is the best and most thrilling thing like this that exists.
The One Wheel is a great product, and we support everyone making personal electric vehicles. But the One Wheel is not a Hoverboard and vice versa. The One Wheel is great for what is designed for, but the Hoverboard is designed differently. The Hoverboard is designed from the ground up to be a thrilling and luxurious experience. We spared no expense in bringing this experience. The quality is reflected in every detail: LCD displays, magnesium parts, modular design that's user modifiable, software kit and updates, A smartphone app that allows you to personalize your experience, speakers to sync your music tracks or playlist to, sonar for balancing, LED lights, and top of its class engine power and personal electric vehicles. And then maybe a call to action for a video or coming to a demo day or a video of somebody from a demo day. Something to wrap it up like we invite you to come see for yourself the unique experience we bring to you in the Hoverboard.
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