There are plenty of good hoverboards around, but Chinese company InMotion has come up with an innovative twist on the concept: Hovershoes. If hoverboards are essentially motorized self-balancing skateboards, then InMotion’s Hovershoes X1 are motorized self-balancing rollerblades — or small hoverboards for each foot. These shoes don’t have to communicate with each other and operate entirely on their own. This opens up a whole host of creative movements, as seen in the video above.
“Have you ever seen a hoverboard and thought to yourself, ‘Hmm, what would happen if I chopped this in half with an ax?’” Jeffrey Will, experience manager at InMotion, asked Digital Trends. “The concept of Hovershoes is essentially like separating both sides of a hoverboard so that each side operates independently. Technically, each ‘shoe’ is a single wheeled device, not unlike a tiny version of an electric unicycle with 3.5 inch roller style wheels with a platform on top.”
On a regular hoverboard, the only way to steer is by making the whole device spin by accelerating one side of the board faster than the other. This is also the source of many hoverboard-related tumbles, due to the fact that applying too much pressure on either side while moving causes the machine to spin and eject its rider. The separated Hovershoes concept, meanwhile, means that riders can accelerate using either foot without fear of wiping out. This makes riding more fun, but also safer.
“To ride Hovershoes X1, each unit is powered on with a power button on its side,” Will said. “To activate the motors for self-balancing, each unit has a pressure-sensitive pad to detect the presence of a rider’s foot. Once activated, it’s just a matter of hopping on. Hovershoes X1 are safe, easy to learn, and easy to master because riders can control their stance without their feet being locked into a fixed position.”
After receiving a couple of prototypes of the shoes in the company’s San Diego office, they have quickly become a big hit with staff, Will said. While he’s certainly got a bit of a vested interest in saying that, we nonetheless can’t wait to try these for ourselves. If you’re interested in getting your hands on a pair, pre-orders for the Hovershoes X1 are available now on the company’s website. Shipment to customers in the U.S. will hopefully take place by the end of July.