RocketSkates Motorized Skates
RocketSkates, an upcoming product from Acton, was pledged $550,000 in Kickstarter funding over the summer. Peter Treadway has high hopes that they'll compete with skateboards, bikes and of course regular skates.
(RocketSkates Motorized Skates)
The skates don't require any kind of handheld controls, though as with most smart devices they come with a companion phone app that is used to configure them. Once the skates have been paired with your phone over Bluetooth, the app provides stat-tracking and battery life information as well as a few games you can play (if your battery runs out, you're better off walking—these aren't really built to work in non-rocket mode). Most importantly, the app lets you designate a "master" and a "follower" skate, based on which foot you put in front of the other. The master skate is the one that revs up and winds down the skates' motors, and the other skate simply follows its lead. Finally, the app lets you set your skates to one of three different "difficulty" levels—Treadway told us that this doesn't affect the top speed of the skates, but the rate at which they accelerate.
Much like the rollerblades, skateboards, and bikes that they hope to replace, RocketSkates have a learning curve. It looks easy when an experience rider does it, but newbies will need to get the hang of pointing the wheels in the same direction, leaning without falling forward or backward. The urge to move your legs is strong, as is the desire to have your feet evenly placed rather than riding with one in front of the other. Ignore these impulses! For they lead only to slipping and sliding and (once, but only once!) actually falling down.
Hugo Gernsback wrote about a device called a tele-motor-coaster in his excellent 1911 novel Ralph 124c 41 +:
In reality they were Tele-motor-coasters. They were made of alomagnesium and each weighed only about one and a half pounds. Each had three small, rubber-covered wheels, one in front and two in the rear. Between the wheels was a small electric motor - about the size of a lemon; this motor could only be operated by high frequency currents and, despite its small size, could deliver about one-quarter horsepower.
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RocketSkates Motorized Skates
'In reality they were Tele-motor-coasters.'- Hugo Gernsback, 1911.
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