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Dec 25, 2015, 07:25 PM
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Hoverboard notes

The answer is no. Self balancing hoverboards don't really self balance or hover & they're extremely rare except by 1 guy on 2nd street. The range goes up, every time they're advertised, 1st 5 miles, then 10 miles, then 20 miles. Like most breakthroughs in the economic boom, they're not real. There's no information on how they work & no reviews by anyone who isn't a reseller, but the advertisements reveal some clues. Sellers are careful to place them upright on the ground to appear self balancing, but sometimes tip them over to show the battery indicator. There are no closeups of the electronics & no-one has any idea how they work.

The user must actively shift on top of the thing to stay balanced. The user presses 2 buttons on the foot rest to activate the motor. Pressing 1 button causes it to go forward until the acceleration is straight down. Pressing the other button causes it to go backward. Judging from what look like I2C lines on a blurry photo, there's an MPU6000 on each footrest, so they do sense true tilt angle.

They're 1 of the growing number of things for which no-one has ever made a firmware hack because no-one knows how. The 1st step in using 1 for hauling cargo is making it balance itself. This seems possible with the existing hardware. They only omitted it because it probably was easier to control if the user had to press a button to activate the motors & specify the direction.

Self balancing boards don't stay still if the payload is off center. They oscillate backwards & forwards. Theoretically, the large mass of the thing would reduce the oscillation. Then comes the job of replacing the buttons with remote control commands. What they advertise as a remote control now is purely a remote key. Suspect it would need ballast to achieve a high speed.

Something as trivial as driving a hoverboard from a phone would be an adsense hit, because no-one knows how to do it anymore. Everything the lunchbox does could be done a lot better by a hoverboard. Who knows how well the size would work or what the range is, but $300 for something that can probably move 30 lbs of cargo 20 miles is a steal.
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