[VIDEO] Soon You Can Zip Around The Streets Of KL In These Motorised Roller Skates

Think roller sneakers for kids, but on steroids running at a top speed of 19kmph.

Cover image via Acton Global

Many of us have dreamt about self-driving cars, and even controlling objects with our mind. With advances in technology, some of these dreams have become reality. So what about motorised roller skates?

Image via RocketSkates

Meet RocketSkates, world's first smart wearable mobility, electric-powered footwear for city dwellers

Image via Acton Global

In the space between somewhat practical vehicles like the Segway and completely fad-driven curios like the Tamagotchi, there exists a middle ground of outlandish gadget that almost seems to make sense, but is weird enough that you might be too embarrassed to use it in public. It's still early days, but that appears to be the case with Acton's RocketSkates, which look like a joint creation by the art departments of Judge Dredd and Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.

The brainchild of company founder and chief technical officer Peter Treadway, the RocketSkates take square aim at urban residents who too often find themselves at the intersection of too-close-to-drive and too-far-to-walk. “In the late 1950s, people were predicting things like flying cars, jet packs and rocket skates,” Treadway says. “Well, one down and two to go.” (Actually, the flying car is a reality, courtesy of flights of fancy like the PAL-V One, Aeromobil and Terrafugia. But it’s hard to pick nits with the progenitor of something as novel as wearable transportation.)

Offering to motorise your feet, a demonstration video indicates that you can use the RocketSkates to traverse the city at fairly rapid speeds, however, there are limitations. WATCH:

The demo video, which aims to show how fun the skates can be, also brings to mind the possibility of leg and knee injuries. Sure, the device works on a perfectly smooth surface, but what if you're traveling through the city at a fairly rapid clip, and hit a damaged piece of pavement?

Unlike a bike or even a skateboard, you won't be able to hop off when hitting a bad patch of road. Veteran joggers, propelled by their own power, know that even landing awkwardly on a slightly damaged surface can cause knee problems — adding motorized power to the same scenario would likely cause problems.

The rubber-wheeled super skates, which resemble Lego on wheels, or retro-geek mobility suitable for Maximus Prime and his ilk, are not short on technical specifications:

Each skate features by two 50w brushless motors, one inside each front wheel. Rear-mounted lithium-ion battery packs, which fully charge in 1½ hours, power the motors. The skates “talk” to each other via microprocessors, so they both maintain the same speed. Top speed is estimated at 12mph, depending on various factors such as rider weight and wind speed. Maximum rider weight: 275lbs. Dimensions: 8in x 8½in x 9in. Weight: 7lbs each .

Powered by lithium-ion battery packs, the range and run times vary by model, of which there are three

Acton R RocketSkates R-10 'Deep Space Black'.

Image via Acton Global

The skates, powered by lithium-ion battery packs, come in three configurations with varying limits of usage: Rocket Red at 45 minutes (or 6 miles), Terminator Chrome at 70 minutes (or 8 miles) and Deep Space Black, which lasts for 90 minutes (or 10 miles).

The R6 can travel six miles and run for 45 minutes on a full charge; the R8 tops out at eight miles and 70 minutes; and the R10 maxes out at 10 miles and 90 minutes. The three models retail for $499, $599 and $699 respectively. As for hills, anything greater than a five- to eight-degree incline is a no-go.

Equipped with two hub motors and an on-board microprocessor, the operation is decidedly simple

Image via

Each skate is equipped with two hub motors and an on-board microprocessor, so they can synchronize with each other to maintain the same speed. Perhaps the most innovative aspect of the RocketSkates is the fact that no remote control is needed.

Just push off and tilt the skate forward to engage the motor – and fully embrace commuting or interpretive-dance whims. Tilting a skate backward engages an electric brake. Tilt it farther back and a mechanical brake kicks in, Treadway says.

You can also monitor the status of the skates, and track your routes, using an accompanying app for iOS and Android

Image via

RocketSkates offer a downloadable smartphone app that displays info such as battery life, miles travelled, suggested routes and speed. Treadway also wants to connect RocketSkates enthusiasts via Bluetooth.

The app gives you a variety of information like how far you've traveled, mileage and your skates' battery life. It can even track your route for you and let you compare it with others. There's also a potential for "interactive gaming," though Treadway tells us this might come later depending on what developers do with its SDK. Last but not least, you can use the app to wirelessly control the lead skate as if it were an RC car for a bit of fun.

Despite the RocketSkates' seeming impracticality, potential hazards and odd look, it's important to note that recreational devices like rollerblades and the Razor scooter were once laughed off, only to later become hugely successful in certain segments of the market

Image via

“The idea of being able to wear your transportation is something that’s been brewing in me for a long time,” he says. Treadway conceived of the skates seven years ago while working on his thesis at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, one of the world’s foremost producers of transportation-design talent. “I don’t like the idea of carrying things around. Wearing something makes so much more sense.

“I developed about 50 or 60 prototypes,” he says of the skates, which offer adjustable foot plates that accommodate almost any style of shoe. “And now we’ve finally got the product rolling, literally and figuratively.”

The skates are expected to go into mass production, in China, by the end of September 2014

Image via Acton Global

Though it is not easy to forecast the market for wearable mobility, at last count, Acton originally sought $50,000 to produce the product, but as of this writing, the company has already raised over $455,000 — nine times its original goal. Which clearly suggests that the public is clearly interested.

ALSO READ: Chinese Farmer Invents A Fully-Functioning Electric Scooter Out Of A Suitcase

You may be interested in: