Powered skateboards have been around since the early 90's, but they've always seemed to require extra components — from handheld throttles to Microsoft Kinect-based sensor arrays — that could never quite capture the feel of a conventional deck. The ZBoard, with an electric drivetrain and weight-sensor control system, could be the first to actually pull it off.
The ZBoard is reportedly the first motorised skateboard to operate by sensing the user's shifting weight. IT works like this: by pressing a foot on either the front or rear foot pad, the system is able to determine your weight distribution on the deck. Press on the front and forward to accelerate, press on the rear and lean bake to engage the regenerative brakes. Does this mean I'll stop wearing out the soles of just my left shoes on the many hills of San Francisco? I sure hope so.
The ZBoard has a 400 watt motor that and comes in two varieties — the 15mph, 5-mile-range Standard version and the 17mph, 10-mile-range Pro (the Pro also uses a Li-Ion battery pack rather than the sealed Lead-Acid pack the Standard one uses). They will cost $US600 and $US850, respectively when they begin shipping in March thought both are currently on discounted $US100 throughout the pre-order period that runs through March 15. Check out the promo video over at YouTube [ZBoard via Gizmag]