Like most of our generation, Kyle Doerksen was a little kid when he first saw that legendary hoverboard scene in Back to the Future II. "I think I was around seven years old when the movie came out," he remembers. "Obviously it made an impression." Doerksen is the inventor of the Onewheel, a self-balancing electric skateboard that recently made a splash at CES. The sleek single-wheeled maple and aluminum board whizzes around with such speed and fluidity, you'd swear you were actually on that flying board. Not unlike a Segway, the device uses sensors, gyroscopes and algorithms which allow you to control the board with your balance—leaning forward on your front foot speeds you up while leaning back on the other slows you down.
Top speed: 12 mph
Range: Four to six miles
Weight: 25 lb.
20 minutes with the fast charger; 120 min. with the standard charger
An avid snowboarder, Doerksen was working at IDEO, one of the world's leading design firms in Palo Alto, when he started toying with the idea of building a board that could mimic the feeling on dry land. "I designed all kinds of products for companies like Steelcase, Motorola and Mattel—from kids toys to medical devices," he says. "But I've always gravitated towards electromechanical systems and motion-sensing products." Before the Onewheel, he helped launch Faraday Bikes, specializing in handsome electric bicycles.
Now he and his team have taken the concept to Kickstarter, where they've already smashed their target on the crowd-funding campaign, doubling their goal in just over two weeks. Which means this next generation skateboard should be hitting the streets soon.