Powerboarding is so trending right now! That’s right, electric skateboards—whether you consider them awesome, the end of the world as we know it, or something in between—have been gaining in popularity in recent years. We’ve covered a number of such gizmos lately, but one of our current faves eschews the videogame-esque addition of the joystick for a more intuitive approach, sensing your weight as you lean forward to accelerate and back to brake.
It’s called the ZBoard, and it was designed in Hermosa Beach, Calif., by Intuitive Motion, a team of mechanical engineers with a passion for skateboarding, snowboarding and surfing who also happen to have a background in robotics and product design. These folks all went to school together at the University of Southern California and, for their senior project, decided to tackle a burning issue in their lives: the incredible pain in the arse it is to push a skateboard up hills and over Los Angeles’s notoriously uneven streets.
Thus, their mission was born: to design a device that was faster and easier to ride than a skateboard, and more fun and portable than a bike, with an eye toward the daily commuting needs of students and young professionals.
Gizmag reports that the ZBoard delivers up to 400 watts of motor power via its simple, lean-and-go interface, clocking in at up to 17 mph worth of speed with nary a foot touching the ground.
The ZBoard’s deck includes front and rear foot pads, each of which evaluates how much force the rider is applying and sends this information to the onboard micro-controller, which then dictates the speed of the electric motor. The device makes use of regenerative braking, recharges via a standard wall outlet, and gets the carbon footprint equivalent of up to 1500 miles/gallon.
Yours (in April) via Kickstarter for a cool $499.