Electronic Product Design

Tuesday, 23 February 2016 00:00 Written by 

One Wheel On My Wagon

onewheelWe frequently encounter products delegated the next big thing, their industry equally proclaiming a market-disrupting product is en-route. Often, we’re let down. It isn’t always the product itself to blame; everyone boards the hype-train as soon as it pulls into station, and it isn’t always sunshine and roses when the steam runs dry.

So I’m sceptical of giving this product to much hype – but it looks like good fun, and the parent company has just secured a nice amount of funding to continue development.

Onewheel

The Onewheel is a newly designed addition to the seemingly continually expanding electric skateboard, hoverboard, and general personal mobility marketplace. Electric skateboards and hoverboards have caught understandable flak in recent months. Both have failed to deliver on the sometimes astounding promises made by their manufacturers (remember that hype train?!), and in the case of hoverboards, have literally been catching fire. Not through their sales, just regular, bad fire.

Product developers Future Motion have just secured $3.2 million to continue development of their single-wheeled skateboard. But at first glance, it isn’t obvious where the technology is, and where the $1,500 price-tag comes from. Future Motion CEO Kyle Doerksen says “It’s a system you couldn’t build easily with off-the-shelf components,” and I think he is right. It features a full-blown computer inside the wheel, complete with gyroscopes, accelerometers, and even Bluetooth connectivity.

The board itself is powered by an electronic motor connected to a rechargeable lithium-iron-phosphate battery, allowing you to move at a really quite respectable 16 miles per hour. Not only that, Doerksen believes it easier to learn than a regular board, taking only a couple of minutes to become familiar, and it is self-balancing for those who would worry about taking a tumble on their way to work.

Investment

The investment secured will go toward expanding the company’s current team of 10, while Future Motion itself will expand their operations and quadruple its manufacturing capacity ahead of a predicted slew of orders for the Onewheel.

Future Motions and the Onewheel made the news recently for other reasons. At the massive Consumer Electronics Show, two US Marshalls raided a Chinese manufacturer's booth, seizing their stock, and effectively shutting down their operation for infringing the Future Motion IP and potentially damaging their reputation by offering a reportedly inferior product.

Nonetheless, I look forward to completing the school run on a Onewheel, while my children run behind me.

 

Image courtesy of Onewheel / Future Motion.

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