The big Toy Fair rumor this week was that Mattel had developed a Back to the Future-like hoverboard. Alas, it turned out to be a non-working collector's item, a duplicate of the prop from the film. Damn. Here's another company touting a hoverboard, one that functions a lot like a segway.
The inventive folks at Inventist, developer of the Solowheel that our own Raymond Wong wrote about from last year's Toy Fair, have come up with a neo-hoverboard, which they call — well, they don't really have an official name for it because it's still a prototype.
Whachamacallit is sort of a Segway-light without the handle bars. It's got two wheels, each with a separate motor, along with gyros and sensors. Like the Segway, you lean forward a bit and you glide forward; lean back to stop. It's powered by a lithium ion battery. It looked as if you had to ride it facing forward like in the photo rather than skateboard-style slicing sideways through the wind.
The sample in the photo moved quite slowly, but the developers told me it would probably move at a top speed of 10 mph. They don't want the whoziwhachit to go much faster than a person can run in case you get tripped up and have to jump off. There'll be no latching onto the rear of pick-up trucks or chasing 18th century locomotives.
Okay, the Inventist people are calling it a hover board, at least for the moment. They hope to have it out this summer at a price one assumes is slightly less than that of a Segway.