New vehicle: From fiction to real life

Photo: New vehicle: From fiction to real life / Society

Baku, Azerbaijan, August 1

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This is the footwear that Batman and Flash Gordon would wear if they could. These are the gadgets you probably dreamt about when you were a child. Shoes you could wear like roller skates but that were jet propelled and that you could put on and zoom ahead at the speed of light? Not quite the speed of light but at a respectable speed of 12 miles per hour (19 kilometers), on a full charge of the lithium-ion batteries takes 1.5 hours.

These are the RocletSkates, the latest in personal travel - the invention of Peter Treadway, the founder and chief technical officer of a California-based company. The RocketSskates is no toy and should not be underestimated as it has the potential of introducing massive changes in today's society. It's target audience are those who live at the intersection of "too-close-to-drive and too-far-to-walk."

What Treadway did was bring something that was out of science fiction comic books into reality.

The idea of being able to wear your transportation is something that's been brewing in me for a long time," said Treadway t the BBC. He conceived 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.

The rubber-wheeled super skates may look simple but are indeed quite ingenious. They consist of the following specifications.

  • Each skate features 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 identical speed, otherwise you may end up having one foot skating faster then the other.

Futuristic, yes, but there are some realities related to physics, nature and gravity that one needs to keep in mind. For example top speed is estimated at 12mph, however, one needs to consider various factors such as the user's weight and wind speed and the terrain.

The maximum rider weight is 275lbs (124 kilos). There are curtly three models.

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. One definite advantage of these electric skates is possibility to wear almost any shoe you want. They also have mapping function which can track the route you have taken, which could be shared with friends. Moreover it is possible to find other RocketSkates on the live map.

This invention could resolve traffic problems in densely populated cities. RocketSkates are ecologically clean and energy efficient and their usage will reduce emissions in the environment.

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