Grind this: Onewheel electric skateboard balances itself

The Onewheel electric skateboard rolls ahead with the idea that you don't need four wheels or a good sense of balance to ride.

Onewheel skateboard prototype
Four wheels is three too many. Onewheel

Electric skateboards have been the subject of quite a bit of effort in the last few years as inventions aimed to go offroad or up hills with an electric assist. Those boards have something in common: four wheels. The Onewheel on Kickstarter ditches three of those extraneous round things and just slaps one big wheel in the middle of the board.

You may not be able to pull off a McTwist with the Onewheel, but it does have certain advantages over a more standard design. Riding it offers more of a surfing or snowboarding sensation. It has a much shorter learning curve than a regular skateboard, thanks to the fat center wheel and self-balancing features.

The Onewheel can go up to 12 mph and has a range of up to 6 miles. Gyro and accelerometer sensors keep the board in touch with your body to prevent you from taking a tumble. It's like someone distilled a Segway into its simplest possible form.

The project has less than a week to go on Kickstarter, but has handily zipped past its initial funding goal of $100,000 and is now close to $318,000. Standing out from the skateboarding crowd will cost you, though. A Onewheel goes for a $1,299 pledge. A $1,399 pledge includes a 20-minute fast charger. The standard charger takes two hours.

The success of the crowdfunding campaign has led to a flashy stretch goal of integrated LED lights for glowing at night, which just adds to the weird/cool factor of the device. Perhaps we'll see a special Onewheel division of the X Games sometime in the future.

Onewheel skateboard prototype rolling
Most riders get the hang of it within a few minutes. Onewheel
About the author

Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET's Crave blog. When not wallowing in weird gadgets and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.

 

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