When we first saw the Zboard, an electric skateboard with weight-sensor controls, we hoped it would be the first powered skateboard that could actually ride, well, like a skateboard. We tested it out late last week and it's exactly that: a fun skateboard that can move on its own.
The Zboard works like this: you tilt your weight forward on the pad and it starts zooming forward. Feel like you're going too fast? Then lean back on the back pad to hit the brakes. It's completely natural to do, just imagine yourself on a skateboard except you never have to put your foot on the ground ever again.
At first, I was a little scared to go too fast (because crashing into a crowd of tech reporters carving down a mountain of prawn cocktail isn't exactly a good look but also) because I'm not used to reaching that speed on a skateboard. The sensation is like rolling downhill on a solidly-built regular skateboard.
The Zboard weighs over 12 kilos and can reach a top speed of 27kph and depending on the model, can last 8 to 16 kilometres per charge.
Geoff Larson, the guy showing off the Zboard, took us too school by zooming in and around dining tables and people with more control than I have walking in a straight line. The Zboard costs $US650 for the 8km version and $US950 for the longer 16km one. Apparently there are already about a dozen of these with lucky owners in Australia.