As a startup, ACTON encourages a community of innovators and thinkers to become a part of their projects, which is why the company has turned to Kickstarter to launch their latest product, the RocketSkates – and they’ve already raised more than $200,000.
Weighing seven pounds each, the RocketSkates have two 50-watt DC brushless hub motors controlled by an on-board microprocessor, all powered by a lithium-ion battery.
The maximum incline ranges from five to eight degrees, but is dependent on weight, a limit which is set at 275 pounds.
The skates can connect to a user’s smart phone, via the ACTON app, which provides route tracking, battery status, and various social interactions. Additionally, the company is offering an SDK for developers to create new experiences for the RocketSkates.
Taking point from the company’s logo, a hexagon can be seen throughout the design. “We find the natural structural geometry of a hexagon to be an integral part of the RocketSkates’ design,” explains Jennifer Choy, industrial designer.
The team we started with the battery pack, building a compact package around it, keeping weight in mind as one of the most important design requirements.
Choys explains that the RocketSkates are meant to invoke the feeling of a futuristic, industrial vehicle. “Even the housings for the shocks have a slight 'oomph' to feel like exhaust flares,” she adds.
The weight-saving structure was one of the biggest engineering and designing challenges. “From the chassis, to the motor, our objective was to make every part as efficient and compact as possible,” explains Choy.
For prototyping, the team ran a MakerBot 3D printer constantly, printing the evolving parts as needed. “We begin with a lot of in-house physical iterations of prototypes,” says Choy. “Our in-house designers and engineers use programs like Alias, Rhino, and SolidWorks to model the RocketSkates.”
According to Choy, the most innovative aspect of the design is the control system, which can be used without a hand held remote. “You control the speed and braking with your feet,” she adds.
The skates are activated by pressing the buttons on the back of each skate; when the LEDs stop flashing, the skates are synched and ready to go. The user must choose a “lead” skate, although both are motorized, because this one will tell the other what to do.
“For your safety, we built in a kick-to-start feature,” adds Choy. “Simply start rolling and the motors will kick in.” To accelerate, the user tilts the lead skate forward, and to slow down or brake, the lead heel is pressed down, stopping both skates.
After the Kickstarter campaign, the company will be moving straight into production, and hopes to continue the dialogue with their backers in order to deliver the best RocketSkates experience.
With 38 days to go, the campaign has already surpassed its goal of $50,000, with more than $200,000 raised.
To get your own, visit www.kickstarter.com.