If "Back to the Future" had been a prophetic film, we would have hoverboards and flying motorcars 12 months from now in the year 2015. But while we wait (and dream) for these sci-fi vehicles to arrive, Los Angeles company Acton has raised funds on Kickstarter to roll out a nifty alternative – motor-powered roller skates. The RocketSkates – each powered by two wheels and a microprocessor – are designed to be strapped on over your normal shoes. Users can whiz along at a maximum speed of 12 mph; tilting forward and backward control acceleratoin. Once in production, the electric skates will cost up to $599 a pair. Metro spoke to Jennifer Choy, industrial designer of Acton, about the high tech skates.
How did the idea for RocketSkates come about?
It has always been part of the collective consciousness, that one day we would have jet packs, flying cars ... and rocket skates - and we're now in a time when technology has made RocketSkates possible.
How do they work?
The skates are developed on a control system where the angle of your foot determines the speed and braking. The two skates communicate with each other wirelessly to make sure that they behave in the exact same way.
Who are these wheels geared for?
Anyone over 16 years of age who wants to get around an urban environment. The RocketSkates are great for college campuses, local commutes, or simply for having a good time. It takes a little bit of practice to get used to the controls, but once you have it, it's all fun and games.
Won't motorized skates just make people more lazy?
What we're hoping to do is not to take people off their feet, but get them out of their cars. Our idea is to create a device that encourages people to go outside and experience mobility in a new way.
RocketSkates come with a smartphone app. Will that mean I can control the skates from my phone?
In a way, yes. The app monitors your performance on the skates and encourages social interactivity among the so-called "RocketSkaters."