The hoverboard craze might be dead, but that’s not stopping the man who started the trend in the first place from trying again. Shane Chen, the man who runs Inventist — the company behind the Solowheel and the Hovertrax hoverboard — has returned to Kickstarter to crowdfund a new rideable called the Solowheel Iota.
The $600 Iota ($395 on Kickstarter) is a cross between Chen’s two most recognizable products. You ride it by standing on pedals with the wheels and motors between your feet, much like the Solowheel. But the Iota actually has two wheels inside the central housing, making it look sort of like someone cut a hoverboard in half and glued the opposite ends together.
Riders will be able to cruise around for up to eight miles on an Iota, and it takes about 40 minutes to charge back up. It should be easy to pack up when it’s not in use, too, because the pedals fold up and there’s a handle on the top of the device. The whole setup weighs just eight pounds.
One of the reasons the hoverboard craze died — aside from all the explosions and fires — was that people looked a little absurd riding them. Maybe the most impressive thing about the Iota is that, from the side, it’s pretty hard to see what the person is even using to get around.
Another reason the hoverboard craze died was that, once the novelty wore off, it became clear that they weren’t going to revolutionize how people get from point A to point B outdoors. Perhaps this is why Inventist seems to be throwing around a number of use cases for the Iota, calling it “perfect for ‘last mile’ commuting, hanging out around town, running quick errands or just having fun.”
We won’t know if the Iota is different enough of a device to start a new kind of personal transportation craze until late 2017 — Inventist says the first units will start shipping in September. Until then, you can check out more information on the Kickstarter page, where Inventist has posted photos of prototypes, CAD drawings, and some harsh words for potential copycats.