The devices are commonly known today as hoverboards were first presented at a technology fair in China in 2014 and have since enjoyed a rapidly growing popularity. Although they are a relatively new invention, the hoverboard market already offers a wide variety of different designs and uses.
Given the variety of offers, it can be hard to choose the best hoverboard, the one that best suits your personal purposes. Because: the small machines come with different wheel profiles for different terrain types. Some have Bluetooth speakers so the user can listen to music while driving.
The newer models are equipped with a self-balancing driving mechanism to ensure a better driving experience. Hoverboards come with many more special features, so the choice seems endless. This article is intended to familiarize you with the electric scooters and to help you decide to buy a hoverboard.
The development history of Hoverboard scooters
The term hoverboard suggests that this new technical invention is a top hoverboards hovering board (board = board) hovering over the ground. The names e-board, mini-segway, electric scooter, self-balancing skateboard and balance board are used synonymously in the US. It is often referred to as the term “self-balancing board/scooter”.
Although the commercially available e-boards are not actually floating boards, the term hoverboard has become generally established and is therefore preferably used in this article.
The term hoverboard appears for the first time in the science fiction novel. The hole in the zero (1967) by MK Joseph, which is filmed in the late 80s as Back to the Future II. In the film, which plays in 2015, the protagonist, however, drives on a “real” hoverboard, which hovers over the ground without contact.
From invention to production, it does not seem to be clearly possible to attribute the first installation of a hoverboard to a particular company. The magazine “Wired” suspects in an article from the year 2015 that the first hoverboard comes from the laboratory of Chic Robotics.
The company Chic Robotic is in close association with the University of Zhejiang in China. The product, called Smart S1, was first released in August 2014. At the same time, the American entrepreneur Shane Chen claims the invention of the first hoverboard for himself and his company Hovertrax.
Due to the poorly regulated situation covered by Chinese patent law, the clear classification of the first patent is difficult. Also, the lax enforcement of patent law allows many companies to produce cheaper copies of the original prototype.
This was particularly noticeable in the pre-Christmas period of 2015/16 when demand for hoverboards rose sharply due to the marketing of electric scooters by American celebrities. Some manufacturers have endangered consumers by processing cheap materials and manufacturing processes. Cases became known in which the devices ignited due to overheating of the batteries.
Meanwhile, consumers are able to avoid this vulnerability. Underwriter Laboratories, known as UL, which is generally engaged in independent testing of products and materials, has begun to review hoverboards for various safety issues and to issue certificates.
A UL security certificate is generally very high-profile and has a major impact on sales, making it a viable option for many manufacturers to obtain this award.
To avoid the risk of catching fire, it is, therefore, advisable to buy a hoverboard that has passed UL’s safety tests and has been awarded UL 2272 certification. TUV Rhineland also issues tests on the safety of the hoverboards.
A hoverboard with this certificate meets the US safety requirements. Nevertheless, users in the United States have to expect further usage restrictions.
In the United States, the use of hoverboards in public spaces is currently still facing problems. By law, the hoverboards fall under the regulation of the Road Traffic Licensing Regulations, abbreviated StVZO. Under this regulation, a machine whose maximum speed exceeds 6 km / h is considered to be subject to authorization.
Currently, hoverboards are subject to the same regulations as other motor vehicles, ie cars, scooters, trucks, etc. According to the registration requirement, motor vehicles must have seats, belts, brakes, lights, steering, and mirrors, to name but a few.
In addition, motor vehicles may not be operated on pedestrian and bicycle paths, require insurance and a driving license. Since the e-boards do not meet any of these criteria, their use in public areas has so far been punished with fines and a point in the United States.
Since the e-board speeds can reach speeds of up to 20 km / h, their use must be regulated by law in order to ensure the safety of all road users. The Federal Council has recognized the potential of hoverboards with regard to the mobility of individuals and the promotion of the use of local public transport and has therefore requested a revision of the legislation from the Federal Government as of 2016.
In August 2017, work was underway on the approval of the roadside hoverboards, now referred to as small electric vehicles. Further details are not known yet. In particular, the aspect of environmentally friendly locomotion is advocated by the government. Hoverboards are battery operated, noiseless and cause no emissions. Therefore, it can be assumed that the e-boards will in future be integrated into German road traffic.
Until then, the use of hoverboards in the United States should be restricted to private roads and land in order to avoid penalties for driving in public places. It is also important to note that damage to private individuals and property resulting from the use of e-boards has so far mostly not been covered by liability insurance and must be paid out of pocket.
Last but not least, the electric scooters are an entertaining supplement to already existing locomotion methods. The use is fun and can definitely contribute to a more environmentally friendly mobility, as soon as the legal regulation allows the use of hoverboards in road traffic in the United States. Despite all restrictions, it makes sense to find out about existing offers.
What exactly is a hoverboard?
A hoverboard is basically a mixture of Segway and skateboard. Technically speaking, the device is an electronically driven scooter without a steering wheel, which allows forward and backward movements as well as circular motions. Hoverboards are equipped with powerful motors powered by rechargeable battery packs. Lithium-ion batteries are the most commonly used.
The outer structure of a hoverboard is relatively simple: between two wheels are two treads, which are connected at a seam but can be rotated against each other. The rotation of the footboards causes the electronic motor of the device to be set in motion. There are three basic rotations that are controlled by the shift in body weight.
As the user shifts their weight forward, the running boards are slightly rotated forward and the device advances forward. To steer a turn, either the right or left footboard must be rotated forward.
The rotation of the right foot leads to a left turn, whereas the rotation of the left foot initiates the driving of a right turn. For braking and for backward movements, the user must shift his balance slightly to the rear. Since the equipment can reach high speeds, it is recommended to wear helmets and other protective clothing.
The balance keeps the hoverboard through the use of so-called electronic gyroscope sensors. A gyroscope is a gyro instrument that is processed in various technical products, such as a compass or a smartphone, for orientation and navigation.
The gyroscope sensors are each mounted under the running boards, detect the shift of weight and thereby determine the angle of inclination of the running boards. This angle of inclination controls the motors in the wheels.
Instructions for choosing the best hoverboard
The best tip when choosing a hoverboard is to think about the personal benefits of buying and what features the best support those benefits. If you want to cover particularly long distances, you should get an e-board with high battery power and higher speeds.
If the hoverboard is to bridge the way to the nearest public transport stop, the ease of use and the weight of the device are the deciding factors when choosing the right hoverboard. Still, other devices are better suited to different types of terrain because of their wheels (size & profile), rather than being usable on paved surfaces only.