What is A Hoverboard: An In-Depth Look at the Self-Balancing Scooter

The hoverboard, also referred to as a self-balancing scooter, is pretty popular these days. If you don’t know what is a hoverboard, it’s an electric, two-wheeled, device that is like a Segway in the sense of how the hoverboard is controlled, but it doesn’t come equipped with handlebars.

These boards have a very techy look and offer a solid, smooth performance over a wide range of terrain types. They’re not exactly designed for off-road use, but in the right setting, these boards really can glide.

How They Work

The hoverboard features a very basic design, which makes them very easy to maintain and repair as needed.

If need to learn how to fix hoverboard, you should first learn about what makes them tick. The average board consists of the following: Gyroscope, Microprocessor, Battery, Motor, Two wheels, Pressure pads, Remote, Sensors, etc.

Gyroscope

The gyroscope is what adjusts the tilt of the board, in order to maintain balance.

Microprocessor

The microprocessor is a very tiny processor that regulates the power output to both of the wheels.

Battery

The board’s battery is what stores and provides electrical power to the board. The battery used is typically a lithium-ion battery.

Wheels

Each board has two wheels with an electric motor inside each one. This is where the board’s speed sensor is located. Once the RPM of the wheel has been detected, it’s then sent to the motherboard. The motherboard, also known as the control board, will detect the tilt signals and current speed via signals from the gyroscope.

Once the information has been sent to the control board it begins processing the data. The information such as tilt, speed, and RPMs are processed at the speed of light.

After the data has been processed, the control board will signal back to the motors in the wheels.

Pads

The pressure pads are located at the top of the board where the feet are placed. Under the pads are two rubber pieces. These rubber pieces act as switches, in conjunction with the gyroscopes. Once the rider steps on the board, it engages the pads, pressing them into the rubber switches, which then triggers an infrared sensor that alerts the control board that the rider is on.

When the infrared light is interrupted, the motor gets to work, causing the board to move backward or forward. This is a very simple process that allows the rider to expertly and precisely control the board’s movements, once they get the hang of it.

Together, these components provide the right amount of power and manage the board’s tilt, allowing the rider to remain upright. To use, the rider will stand on the board’s platform between the wheels and can change the direction and adjust the speed of the hoverboard by simply applying weight using the feet.

Remote

Some models of hoverboards come equipped with a remote. These are usually boards that are on the pricey side. A remote will give the rider the ability to lock their board when not in use. It can also allow riders to change the board’s modes based on skill level and max speed capabilities.

Sensors

The sensors in the board work by relaying information to the control board. The sensors then tell the control board how the rider is standing on the platform and the direction the rider is leaning toward.

Any direction the rider leans in and any movements they make will indicate how fast the board will go.

Speed Capabilities

Most brands of boards offer an average speed of five to twelve miles per hour. If you’re currently shopping around for a new board and don’t know what features and specs to look for, click here to check out our epic self-balancing scooter buyer’s guide.

Are Hoverboards Street Legal?

The hoverboard became big in America around 2015. Initially, they went for several hundreds of dollars, which didn’t exactly make them attainable for families on a tight budget. In fact, they became big thanks mainly to celebrities who would zip around on them on the street or even in stores. During this time, the question of whether or not these boards were street legal became an issue.

In terms of legality and usage, this can vary from state to state. There are two states that currently have strict limitations regarding hoverboard usage. These states are California and New York. In fact, the boards are actually banned in New York.

Some states may also have restrictions regarding speed and helmet usage.

Use

In order for the hoverboard to perform well, it must remain upright. The microprocessors inside the boards are what control what direction the board goes in, based on what direction the rider is leaning in. The gyroscope is linked directly to the microprocessor, which works by collecting information in regard to the tilt of the board. Balancing the board can take some getting used to, but you’ll find that most models feature intuitive controls and large platforms that make balancing more manageable.

Maintaining Your Self-Balancing Scooter

The EPIKGO Self Balancing Scooter Hover Self-Balance Board is a beginner-friendly model with intuitive controls, a larger than average platform, and a tough motor that can easily take on steep hills. Not all hoverboards are as beginner-friendly or as easy to repair and maintain.

This particular model uses the latest in hoverboard technology, offering a longer runtime and a more powerful motor and battery. This model is exactly what a hoverboard should be: dependable, fast, and easy to use.

Hoverboard’s History

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:

  • Wheels
  • Motors
  • Gyroscopes
  • Tilt and speed sensors
  • Infrared (IR) sensors
  • A logic board
  • A power switch
  • Plastic casing
  • Frame
  • 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.

Hoverboard Add-Ons

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.

Benefits of Riding Hoverboards

Hoverboards have been present in pop culture since the 1980s when Back –to the Future’s Marty McFly showed us just how much easier it is to keep your shoes clean when you can hover above the ground instead of walking on it.

But that’s all it was for a long time, until a few years ago when hoverboards came screaming back into the public consciousness because someone actually invented one.

It was 2013 when hoverboards first came onto the market, though who exactly invented them and when has been the topic of much debate. Their popularity exploded right away, with kids up and down the country begging their parents for a hoverboard for Christmas. 

It is not surprising that hoverboards have been primarily popular with children since their introduction, but did you know that adults can get great exercise benefits from hoverboards too?

Fun, convenient, and a good workout – a dream combination. Let’s take a look at the health benefits of the humble hoverboard.

Riding Burns Calories

It may not look like a difficult form of exercise (you’re just standing on a moving board after all), but riding a hoverboard can burn a few hundred calories an hour if you do it right!

This is because balancing on a hoverboard engages several muscle groups – just staying upright can be very challenging – with S-shaped boards burning the most calories.

Of course, if you’re looking for an extreme calorie-burning form of exercise, a hoverboard probably isn’t the way to go, but it could be a good jumping-off point for an ongoing fitness journey. And did we mention that it’s really fun?

Encourages Good Posture

As mentioned above, simply standing upright on a hoverboard is a real challenge and requires good core strength. It also encourages good posture, as maintaining a straight body position is key to balancing on the board.

A few weeks and your hunched shoulders will be a thing of the past! Your core muscles and abdominal strength will increase too. 

Forces you to Focus

Riding a hoverboard requires intense focus and concentration – you’re trying to stay upright on a smallish surface traveling at up to ten miles per hour, and you need to prioritize not only your own safety but the safety of those around you.

If you crash, you may not be the only person to get injured.

The focus you build up while riding will transfer to other aspects of your life, too – you’ll be able to concentrate better at work, or while reading, or completing other tasks around the home.

Low Impact, Full-body Workout

Riding a hoverboard is a low-impact workout that does not require a base of cardiovascular fitness. It’s also a low impact, so recovery is quick and easy. You will need a level of core strength to do well on the board, but this is something you can build up over time.

Start with short rides in safe places with soft landings and go from there!

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