Hoverboards are so last year. Or last two years, for that matter. Especially after regulators and retailers cracked down on poorly built and exploding hoverboards, which has seemingly made them vanish from radars. Unfazed, Shane Chen and his company Inventix, creators of the “original” hoverboard “Hovertrax”, is taking another stab at the two-wheeled personal transportation market. Called the Solowheel Iota, it takes after the first Solowheel but with two key differences. One, it’s no longer huge. Two, it’s no longer a solo wheel.
It’s probably a bit of a misnomer, but “Duowheel” doesn’t have the same punch nor the same legacy as Solowheel. And, for all intents and purposes, it does look like you have one fat, short wheel between your feet. Until you look closely, that is.
The two wheels measure 8 inches (20 cm) in diameter. When put together inside its enclosure, the whole assembly measures 7 inches wide, sans the actual pedals you stand on. It all weighs just 8 lbs (3.6 kgs), which is lots lighter than the first Solowheel or the Hovertrax for that matter. The odd (for those used to seeing hoverboards) contraption can take you up to 8 miles at 10 mph on a full charge.
And what will you actually use it for? Hoverboards and especially Segways are mostly regarded as toys, but Inventix is billing the Solowheel Iota as a serious “last mile” transportation device. That “last mile’ is a favorite term used by car makers describing the distance between car and actual destination. The Solowheel Iota, given the position and width of its wheels, plus some self-balancing technology, promises to be more stable and safer.
Just like the Hovertrax, the Solowheel Iota is starting out life in Kickstarter, where a $395 pledge is enough to get you one. Should it go retail, however, the price can soar up to $600. It seems that Inventix’s reputation is doing the campaign some good as it is nearing its funding goals with 27 days still to spare.