It’s summer in New York, and I’m starting to see people rolling around on hoverboards once again. But the self-balancing gadgets aren’t anywhere near as everywhere as they were a year or two ago. They’re getting boring, and maybe it’s time for something new: something like self-balancing roller skates.
Segway announced today that it’s working on a pair of “e-skates” called the Drift W1. They look like something out of The Jetsons with their black-and-white, angular design, and as Engadget points out, they also look a little hazardous.
It appears that you just step on top of the Drift W1 with each foot, balance on them without being strapped on in any way, and then lean to start moving. It makes sense that you wouldn’t be hooked in — you need to be able to jump off if there’s a problem — but managing two independent self-balancing objects seems like it could be a bit harder to get the hang of than just jumping on a big wide board.
A price and release date haven’t been announced yet, but Segway says it plans to show them off at at a trade show at the end of August. While this isn’t the first time we’ve seen a company attempt e-skates, it’s certainly the highest profile and a sign that we could start seeing knockoffs rolling around everywhere. Segway also says the Drift W1 are the “first product” in a new category, indicating that it plans to make more.
Will people actually use these? I probably shouldn’t guess, because I would have said “no” to hoverboards, and that was obviously very wrong. Here’s hoping we at least get to see an e-skate derby.