Santa Cruz, California,
Onewheel is a self-balancing single wheel electric board-sport, recreational personal transporter, often described as an electric skateboard. Unlike the electric unicycle, the riders feet (and body) are typically pointed at a perpendicular angle to the wheel and direction of travel.
The Onewheel was invented by Future Motion Inc. founder and CEO Kyle Doerksen. Doerksen holds two engineering degrees from Stanford University, including a master's degree in mechanical engineering. In 2013, he left his job at IDEO and started Future Motion Inc. in Santa Cruz. He launched Onewheel on Kickstarter on January 6, 2014; the Kickstarter exceeded its campaign goal of $100,000 and reached over $630,000 by January 27, 2014. The original Onewheel was released in 2015. It was followed by the Onewheel+ in 2017, the Onewheel+ XR in 2018, and the Onewheel Pint in 2019.
Future Motion Inc. was first headquartered in Mountain View, California. In 2015 the firm moved its headquarters to Santa Cruz, California and operated out of the Old Wrigley Building. In 2018 it moved to a 60,000 sq ft (5,600 m2) facility within Santa Cruz city limits. Manufacturing takes place in Santa Cruz.
In 2015, Onewheel held the first Race for the Rail event. During the event, riders race each other on mountain bike trails, competing for a cash prize. In 2020, the event was held at a Utah ski resort, but the exact location wasn’t released to the public in order to keep spectator numbers down during the coronavirus pandemic. The finals were live streamed on YouTube.
The original model, Onewheel, had a range of 4–6 mi (6.5–9.5 km) and a top speed of 13 mph (20 km/h). It was shown at the Consumer Electronics Show on January 6, 2014; it has since been discontinued. The subsequent version, Onewheel+, introduced in January, 2017, had an improved range of 5–7 mi (8–11.5 km) and top speed of 19 mph (30 km/h). It was discontinued in favor of the Onewheel+ XR.
As of 2021, there are two models in production: Onewheel Pint, with a range of 6–8 mi (9.5–13 km) and top speed of 16 mph (25 km/h); and Onewheel+ XR with a range of 12–18 mi (20–30 km) and top speed of 19 mph (30 km/h). The Pint includes a LED light display that indicates battery status and a handle for ease of carry.
Onewheel’s single wheel contains a brushless electric motor that spins to propel riders forwards or backwards, and makes thousands of micro-adjustments per second to keep riders balanced. To use the board, riders place their feet on either side of the wheel. Riders’ front feet go on top of two pressure-sensitive pads that detect when riders are on the board. To direct the board, riders lean slightly in the direction they want to travel. To stop, riders lift their heel off the side of the front footpad. If using the Onewheel Pint, riders can use the optional dismount system, Simplestop, by leaning back to make the board stop slowly and disengage, allowing riders to step off. The safety feature can be turned off in the Android/iOS app.
Each Onewheel has three internal accelerometers and gyroscopes that continuously measure the orientation of the board in space. These monitors take readings approximately 14,000 times per second in order to tell the motor what to do to help riders balance and move.
All models use 'Pushback' to warn the rider that they are about to reach the maximum safe speed. Pushback gently forces the nose of the Onewheel up when riders approach unsafe speeds, alerting riders that they need to slow down.
Riders can choose to use an app that displays battery charge and miles traveled, and regulates different modes for the rider. The app also allows riders to control other board functions to personalize how the board responds to their riding style.
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