We’ve all been dreaming of real hoverboards ever since seeing Back to the Future. In 2015, it seemed as if this skateboard without wheels had been successfully built. But the Lexxus Board that appeared in a promotional video could only hover by using electromagnetic fields. Like, for example, the Hendo Hover or the Maglev. But magnetic levitation is not yet possible for short-distance everyday commuter use.
Instead, e-boards – electrically motorised skateboards – have been sold under the ‘hoverboard’ name since 2013. These are self-balancing platforms on two wheels. A gyroscope in the tread surfaces detects when the driver shifts their body weight forward, backward or to the side, sending corresponding control commands to the hub motors. This technology originally came from Segway. Meanwhile, there are several Segway clones from other manufacturers, such as the Winglet by Toyota. With a top speed of 20 km/h and a range of about 40 kilometres, the Segway models have conquered many areas of outdoor recreation: as patrol vehicles, as golf carts or for polo games.
There are also Segway mutations that roll along on only one wheel. A further modification of the Segway principle is the Uni-Cub by Honda. This electric stool is suitable for indoor use such as trade shows, in large office blocks or for artistic performances: in a music video by the band OK GO, the moving stool (up to 8 km/h) is the central element of an impressive mass choreography sequence with umbrellas. Another example of intelligent chairs was presented by Nissan in 2015. The ProPILOT Chair is not just a moving chair, but also an autonomously acting robot. Once programmed, it recognises when it is no longer needed and will put itself back to its starting position. In this way it can be used in doctors’ waiting rooms or in restaurants.