It was a concept ahead of its time. Not the Hoverboard—surely you remember the gravity-defying skateboard from Back to the Future II—but this video, complete with testimonials from Christopher Lloyd and Tony Hawk, announcing the arrival of a real life Hoverboard. “Thanks to the clever folks with HUVrTech,” proclaims Lloyd, after extricating himself from an actual DeLorean, “the technology has caught up with the concept.”
The clever folks behind this video, released in early March, jumped the gun by 3 ½ weeks. It was an elaborate hoax, better suited for April Fools Day. Still, plenty of people failed to see the humor in it. As Will Oremus scolded on Slate, the video is “bound to hoodwink gullible kids around the world who want nothing more than to believe that they really can fly, through the miracles of science and technology.”
Damn you, HUVrTech frauds, for dashing the dreams of gullible children!
Racing to the rescue, the good folks at Onewheel, “the self-balancing electric skateboard that gives you the feeling of flying.” This pricey ($1,299) but beyond-cool new toy, the darling of January’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, was fueled by Kick starter and invented by real-life, Stanford-degree-holding engineers who’ve been busy “developing electromechanical consumer and medical products for over eight years for companies like Steelcase, Medtronic and Motorola,” according to Onewheel's promotional material.
That same material assures consumers that the ride experience of one wheel is “controlled by an algorithm we’ve been perfecting for years. Gyro and accelerometer sensors feed a powerful processor that determines the exact speed to drive the motor based on how you lean your body.” State of the art electronics give riders “smooth and responsive acceleration and regenerative braking.”
That’s a very good thing for the young woman zooming around on the Onewheel in this ad, considering that—sorry to come off as a scold— she’s not wearing a helmet.
Here is Hawk, skateboarding legend and notorious assassin of children’s dreams, extolling the intuitive properties of the HUVRboard: “I didn’t think it’d be that smooth, it always looked in the movies like it was just … going sideways, [but] once I got on, it felt natural.”
And here is Onewheel rider “Annie S,” who describes the experience as “like having a psychic under your feet -- it anticipated your next move almost before you knew you wanted to make it."
Similar reviews, the difference being that only one of the products, you know, actually exists. Onewheel doesn’t hover, but it sounds like the next best thing. Just do us a favor, if you straddle one, strap on a brain bucket.