Back in 2010, we first heard about inventor Peter Treadway's concept for powered wheeled footwear that also allowed the user to walk under their own power when desired. Two years later, the concept was the subject of a Kickstarter campaign, in the form of spnKiX motorized skates. Now, Treadway has returned to Kickstarter with an improved take on the original idea, known as Acton R Rocketskates.
Like spnKiX, Rocketskates are designed to be strapped on over regular footwear. When you want to let each skate's two hub motors do the work, you just tip your feet back so that only the rubber wheels make contact with the ground. Should you need to do something like climbing stairs, however, you tip forward and walk on the balls of your feet.
UPGRADE TO NEW ATLAS PLUS
More than 1,500 New Atlas Plus subscribers directly support our journalism, and get access to our premium ad-free site and email newsletter. Join them for just US$19 a year.UPGRADE
Unlike spnKiX, however, Rocketskates aren't controlled via a remote control unit. Instead users start by picking a "lead" foot (the one that goes in front), turning both skates on, then waiting for them to wirelessly sync up with one another. Once they're synced, the user accelerates by tilting the lead skate forward, and decelerates by putting their heel down. The motors of the non-lead skate simply copy whatever those in the lead one are doing.
Their maximum speed is 12 mph (19 km/h), and the range depends on the model chosen. The R6 will get you around 6 miles (9.7 km) or 45 minutes of use, the R8 is rated for 8 miles (12.9 km)/70 minutes, and the R10 is reportedly good for 10 miles (16 km) or 90 minutes. For all models, a full charge of the lithium-ion batteries takes 1.5 hours.
Users can also do things like monitoring battery life, tracking routes and checking total mileage via an accompanying app.
If they seem like your cup of tea, a pledge of US$249 will get a pair of R6s, with the R8s going for $499 and the R10s for $599 – when and if they reach production. Treadway's Acton company, incidentally, also brought us the collapsible electric M Scooter.
The Rocketskates can be seen in action, in the pitch video below.