An important question to ask about any new product is: who is this for? There are a lot of gadgets out there these days, and many of them solve very specific problems shared by very particular groups of people. But sometimes it's really hard to answer that question. Sometimes you can't even begin to imagine who would spend X on Y. This morning was one of those times, because ArcaSpace — a private space company that builds rockets and spacecraft — announced a tiny, square, electric skateboard that just looks awful.
Who is this for?
This isn't ArcaSpace's first diversion from space indsutry manufacturing. On Christmas Eve, the company announced the ArcaBoard, a ridiculous hoverboard that uses 36 electric fans to fly a few inches off the ground. Originally priced at $20,000, you could argue that the ArcaBoard had no real audience. But at least with the ArcaBoard there was some novelty, and if you squinted hard enough you could see the product serving as a marketing tool for the otherwise obscure space company while also maybe bringing some sort of learnings back to the company.
The ArcaMini, as this new board is called, has none of that novelty. It measures about 16 inches by 12 inches and stands about four inches high. It weighs 17.2 pounds — about twice as much as some of the lightest electric skateboards on the market. It has a middling top speed of 12.5 miles per hour, and a range of 12 miles.
None of these specs are unique to the relatively new world of electric skateboards. It appears there's not even a dedicated remote — you have to control the ArcaMini with your phone. In the video above, all these things come together to make an experience that looks incredibly dull and, frankly, kind of difficult to control. All this can be yours for $695.
ArcaSpace says the Mini was "inspired by aerospace rovers used for planetary exploration." I see the connection, but there's something about the execution (maybe it's the neon colors, maybe it's the skateboard wheels, or maybe it's because the commercial reads more like an ad for skincare products) that makes the ArcaMini seem so much less cool than that. It's less "space rover" and more... the first robot to die in a BattleBots match.