Wheelchairs for feet? Nope, but Wile E. Coyote would be proud. (via ACTION)
Wile E. Coyote has to be one of the most hard working cartoon characters in history. He is renowned for coming up with the most preposterous ideas and contraptions in order to catch the ever-elusive Road Runner. When conventional tactics failed (like planting stop signs), he turns to the Acme corporation to help him catch the bird using crazy devices or contraptions such as the Acme Super Outfit (thought he could actually fly like Superman), Acme Bumblebees (supposed to incapacitate the bird) and rocket-powered roller-skates, which usually leaves him sailing over a cliff edge or slammed into a boulder.
Now, thanks to inventor Peter Treadway and his company ACTON, we can relive those crazy antics in real-life with their R-series RocketSkates. Unlike the Coyote’s skates, these are not propelled by solid-fuel rockets strapped to your feet but rather two hub-motors for each skate. Those hub-motors are controlled by an onboard microprocessor that is powered by rechargeable lithium-ion battery packs.
To prevent the skates from traveling faster or slower than the other (truly causing a Wile E. Coyote incident), they communicate with one another wirelessly via Bluetooth to maintain behavior. That wireless connections is also used by an included app that features a dashboard with pertinent information such as how many miles have been traveled (odometer), a convenient battery meter as well as skate diagnostic information for handling any issues that may arise. The app also features route-tracking information to see the route that has been traveled and load that information to social sites for friends and family to follow.
Users can even control their skates wirelessly while wearing them or not, including using them for RC fun using mounted cameras or cruising when your feet get tired. Controlling the skates is actually done using your feet alone, just like regular skates but the extra benefit of controlling them through a smartphone gives them more versatility. Using them is similar to using regular skates and starts be determining which foot is your lead-foot (normally the one you push off with). The lead skate then tells the follower what to do in terms of speed, direction and orientation.
Next, users press a function button on the back of each skate, which starts the brushless hub-motors. LED indicators let users know when the skates are ready to go and are synced with one another. At this point users simply roll to engage the motors. Speed is increased or decreased by shifting weight to the forward or heel of the lead skate, which will instruct the other skate to do the same. The R-series RocketSkates consist of three models that are identical but feature increased distances and time ranges that it takes to travel that distance.
The all travel at the same speed of 12Mph, however the R6 has a max distance of 6-miles, while the R8 has an 8-mile range and the R10 a 10-mile range respectively. The ACTON R RocketSkates are being crowd-funded through Kickstarter and has already surpassed their goal of $50,000 with over $200,000 and over 30 days left to go. Those interested in getting their hands on the skates can pledge $399 and up but they probably won’t let you catch the illusive Road Runner anytime soon.
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