In 2017, the hoverboard marker was worth $600 million in the US alone.
While not quite the boards we were promised in Back to the Future, hoverboards have proved extremely popular since their release less than 6 years ago. Everyone from Martha Stewart to Justin Bieber uses them, but they’re affordable enough for anybody to own.
Still not sure what exactly we’re talking about? Then you need this guide that explains what is a hoverboard and how they work. Keep reading to catch up.
What Is A Hoverboard?
Hoverboards are called by many names. They’re also known as:
- Smart balance wheels
- Self-balancing scooters
- Self-balancing boards
- Personal e-mobility devices
They entered the market in 2015 and have grown in popularity exponentially.
Regardless of what you call them, each of these names describes a two-wheeled, electric, and portable device. They look and function something like a skateboard. With a platform suspending the rider between the two wheels, they move by leaning forward or backward.
Most of these boards can go between 6 and 10 miles per hour. Some can even go as quickly as 12 miles per hour.
Because of their potential safety hazard, most of the models you can find in stores and online come outfitted with a speed regulating device. That device ensures that the board doesn’t go faster than 7.5 miles per hour.
When Were Hoverboards Invented?
According to some reports, the first time these boards were seen was at a tradeshow in 2014. They were produced by a company called Chic, which was founded with the help of a university. By the following August in 2015, the hoverboards had made their way outside of China and were being produced by numerous other manufactures.
Today, there are a handful of brands producing overboard. Their name corresponds to the brand that produces them. These brands include PhunkeeDucK, IO Hawk, HoverBoost, Hoveride, Rebel Board, ERover, Fiturbo, Wally Gadgets, Hovertraks, and Two Wheels.
How Do Hoverboards Work?
Hoverboard consist of an extensive array of parts. This includes:
- Tilt and speed sensors
- Infrared (IR) sensors
- A logic board
- A power switch
- Plastic casing
- Battery pack
- Charging port
Each wheel has a gyroscope that controls that wheel. The wheels also have their own tilt and speed sensor. The motors also link up to the wheels and all four of these components working together is what makes the hoverboard move in the ways that it does.
When you place your feet on a hoverboard and tilt forward or backward, the gyroscope communicates with the logic board. These tell the logic board to start the motor and to move in the direction you’re tilting. When you’re not moving, an IR sensor tells the logic board not to move or run the motor.
To move faster on a hoverboard, you tilt further forward or backward. To make a left turn, you move the right leg ahead to move the right wheel. To make a right turn, you move the left foot ahead and move the left wheel.
Some hoverboards already come with some pretty amazing features. You’ll find hoverboards with LED lights, turn signals, and even fog lights. There are also hoverboards with Bluetooth capability and built-in speakers for listening to your favorite tunes while you ride.
You may also consider some protective gear, both for you and your board. You should be wearing a helmet at the very least, if not also elbows, wrist, and knee pads. Though riding a hoverboard isn’t difficult once you get the hang of it, you’re likely to have a few spills when you first start out.
Unless you can fix your own hoverboard, you should have a protective plastic shell and a fiber scooter protector. The shell keeps it from getting scratched while adding a bit of personality to your board at the same time. The fiber protector should come standard attached to your board’s bumper and it’s for protection when you fall.
Tips for Hoverboard Beginners
To ensure you get the longest ride out of your hoverboard and you don’t break down miles away from home, make sure you charge it before you leave your house. That’s especially true when you first purchase your hoverboard. While some will come with a full charge, others don’t.
If you’re new at hoverboarding, you’ll want to practice before you take it out for a real spin. The best place to practice is on a hard and flat surface, with little objects in the way or for you to fall on. You’ll need a lot of space to get moving, so try something like a parking lot or a larger uncarpeted basement.
Figure out which is your dominant foot. This will help you have more control as you learn. Typically, people who are right-handed will have a dominant right foot as well.
Be sure to wear safety gear when you’re taking out your hoverboard for the first time, and for all of the times following. Grab yourself a helmet and consider throwing on some pads on your elbows, knees, and especially your wrists.
There’s no special way to step on and off a hoverboard; because of the way it tilts, there is no front and back. With that said, it best to step on the board forward and step off the board backward.
Everything You Need to Know About Hoverboards
So what is a hoverboard? It’s one of the many named given to self-balancing scooters. They have two wheels, a platform for the ride to stand on, and a whole lot of other hardware and software that makes them glide along the street as you tilt forward and backward.
Originally introduced in 2014, these transportation and entertainment devices have become very popular among kids and adults alike.
If you’re considering buying one, or you’re just learning to ride, be sure to check out our blog with everything you could ever need to know about hoverboards.