Riding a hoverboard is an eerie experience. It makes you feel as if it can read your mind. At a glance, the mechanism of the hoverboard is pretty simple yet sophisticated and unique.
Whether you plan to purchase a hoverboard or already own one, planning to get one for yourself, it is natural to wonder how it works. We are surrounded by fiction movies that tell tales of it being able to read your mind and react accordingly.
Is this true, or is there a different explanation of how does a hoverboard work?
Join me in this article as I explore the complex nature of the hoverboard’s functionality. We will look at the parts that make up a hoverboard and exactly how they function.
How does a hoverboard work?
As you lean on a hoverboard, the sensors detect an increase in pressure on the footpads and direct the motors to take action. The sensors can also understand which direction you are aiming to go to, so the motor instructs the wheels to turn to that specific direction, and off you go.
Hoverboards usually are two-wheelers, but with a rise in scientific innovation, we have also seen some uni-wheeled, 3-wheeled, and even 4-wheeled self-balancing scooters around us in recent years. They are all wireless, run on Lithium-ion batteries, and are available in different colors and sizes.
Understanding how a hoverboard works will require you to know the function of every component inside this transportation gadget. Let’s take a look at what lies inside this incredible machinery.
What Are The Parts Inside?
A hoverboard, commonly known as the self-balancing scooter, is made up of several essential parts. Each component, no matter how small, is important in the board’s overall proper function and safety.
Let us first look at three sensors that are important in making the board work.
The accelerometer uses variable capacitance to measure position. It does so in 3 linear dimensions or Cartesian Coordinates. Each dimension has capacitors, and one of the capacitor plates remains constant while the other varies its position.
The capacitor plates are sensitive to positional changes, and the distance between the plates causes the capacitance to change. Because of this, voltage changes as well, giving a value we can quantify and monitor. You can use this value when necessary.
Doubtless, this is an essential part of the hoverboard, and it is often termed the Gyro scooter. It uses any mass shifts within the gyro to measure angular changes when riding. In essence, it relates to any movements you make from your base gravitational center.
There are two types of gyroscope, mechanical and electrical. The mechanical gyroscope has a central rotor and metal rims. Its electric counterpart uses the Coriolis Effect. The Coriolis Effect is a force that occurs, which is perpendicular to the direction of mass moving at a certain velocity. It is also perpendicular to the exerted external velocity with an axis perpendicular to the motion.
The Coriolis force causes a resultant perpendicular mass displacement. Because of this, capacitance and voltage will change, giving a value that corresponds to a certain angle rate.
This part of the hoverboard employs the Hall Effect principle to measure the earth’s field’s magnetic field. If you plan to make your hoverboard, you may overlook this component.
Other Parts of a hoverboard
Aside from the components as mentioned earlier, other essential parts make up a hoverboard. If you are curious or plan to make your board, here is a comprehensive list of all the components that make up a hoverboard. Of course depending on your budget components price will differ. If you are planning to make a board under 200 you will need to select parts carefully keeping range in mind.
I have also included the components as mentioned above to use it as a checklist when buying parts.
- A frame made of steel, with a pivot device at the center
- A plastic shell cover protects and holds all the parts of the hoverboard together.
- Logic board (Motherboard)
- Two Gyroscopes
- 2 infrared sensors ( each foot needs one)
- Two electric motors that are in each wheel for each foot
- Two speed or tilt sensors again put inside each wheel, one for each foot
- Pressure pads with two switches, one in front and the other at the back
- LED lights, a charging port, a power switch, and a remote control ( optional)
- Battery Pack
Some Hoverboard Parts
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Hoverboard Working Principle
The component-wise explanation that follows will help you to understand it better:
1. Logic Board:
The logic board is the primary controlling mechanism of the hoverboard. It decodes the data that the sensors send, processes the data, and then transfers the information to the motors to take the rider to specific directions within optimal speed limits.
This electrical propulsion, working together with digital information, ensures a smooth riding experience. The mechanism is so sophisticated and self-propelled that it compares to the complexities of the human being’s inner ear, brain, and musculoskeletal systems.
Leon Foucault had invented gyroscopes in the 19th A gyroscope can be compared to a spinning top whose axis keeps the same direction no matter what the outer frame’s orientation is.
There was a time when gyroscopes were widely used in aviation and space engineering, but now their applications have extended to being used in mobile phones as well. In hoverboards, gyroscopes look like small silicon plates that vibrate as per the axis of rotation.
3. Digital Sensors:
Sensors in hoverboards are in miniature forms. They are responsible for recording the speed and inclination of the wheels. After computations, they send the information to the gyroscopes.
4. Electric Motors:
Each wheel has one electric motor fitted inside it. The motors have 700 to 1500W capacity each that are large enough to run a home appliance. The motors provide propulsion and are found inside the main body of the hoverboard. Li-ion batteries power the motors.
How Does A Hoverboard Move?
The wheels of a hoverboard contain two electric motors, speed and tilt sensors. These sensors compute the revolutions per minute (RPM) of each wheel and send the information to the speed control board and gyroscopes.
The speed control board and gyroscopes are situated inside the main body, which is right beside each wheel. The gyroscopes and speed control board receive the RPM computations and send this data to the logic board.
The logic board processes information in real-time. It receives data on the status of the hoverboard, the current speed of travel, and the relative speed and tilt-angle of each wheel. Each wheel, while turning, sends opposing tilt angle and RPM data to the logic board.
Logic board also controls the power of the board and can even detect a beginner or an advanced level rider. When it detects you as a beginner level rider, it limits the power to the wheels, and the maximum speed limit falls for your protection.
How Does a Hoverboard Work?
So, how exactly do these components work together for the board to work well?
A hoverboard should glide effortlessly and take you with it so let us now look at exactly how it does this. Generally, a hoverboard should sense and react to your movements like slowing down if your weight leans backward.
When you switch on your hoverboard, and you hop on, several reactions take place simultaneously. These reactions help you to balance, start moving, and keep you on the hoverboard. Here is a simplified on a step by step guide on technical explanation of what happens when you stand on a hoverboard.
1. On the very top of the hoverboard are two pressure pads. And this is where you should place your feet when riding. Under these pressure pads, there are two rubber pieces that work together with the gyroscope as switches.
These switches sense how your weight is distributed on the board maintaining center of gravity. It helps you go forwards, backward and also facilitates the turning function.
As soon as you step on the pressure pads, the pressure pads are pushed into the rubber triggers.
2. This breaks infrared sensor. This sensor sends data flow to the motherboard, telling the board that the rider is now on. As soon as this happens, the hoverboard begins to balance.
3. Simultaneously, when the infrared LED Sensors are broken and light get interrupted, the brushless motors kick in. They are actually the ones that allow you to move forward or backward.
Wheels for all-terrain hoverboards are bigger than ordinary E-scooters for controlling purpose.
4. You will notice that the hoverboard has two wheels. In each wheel are an electric motor and a speed sensor. Tilt sensors are housed As you start riding, a reading of the RPM in each wheel is taken. This feed or signal goes to your hoverboard’s motherboard.
5. The motherboard (logic board or control board) uses this feed to detect your current speed.
The motherboard is considered as the brain of the hoverboard. It works like a mini-computer in your hoverboard, processing data and giving feedback to the hoverboard’s different parts. Any tilt signals obtained from the gyroscope are detected and processed by the logic board.
6. The motherboard now processes all the raw data from the sensors and gyroscope. And it has a very high processing speed, which can process millions of data bytes per second!
7. When the processing stage is done, it sends feedback back to the motors. The feedback prompts them to take a specified action. Thus, the basic functioning of a hoverboard relies on the sensors correctly sending information to the motherboard. The sensors tell the logic board how you are standing or which direction you are leaning towards. Then the motherboard should relay information back to the sensors to tell them what to do.
Thus, your movements and weight distribution tell the hoverboard how to function. It is this function that most fiction movies play with to make it seem as if the board can ‘read your brain.’
How Does A Hoverboard Wheel Work?
A feature about hoverboards that amazes people is the way it detects your movement and your intention to head toward a particular direction. It is almost as if it can read your mind. It is mainly due to the pressure pads on the foot pedals and the switches that are located near them that the hoverboard is able to do so.
If you are standing erect and motionless on the hoverboard, it will not move. As soon as you lean forward, you place pressure on the footpads, which in turn press down on the switches.
When this happens, a little plastic sheath slides in between the LED light and the infrared sensor. As long as the sensors can detect light, the motors will remain inactive. As soon as this wall slides in, the sensors fail to detect light and understand that you want to initiate movement now.
The sensors, therefore, instruct the motors to start the action. The motors start working, wheels start rotating, and you start moving toward a specific direction. More discussion on this segment will take place later in this article.
How do hoverboards balance? Balancing on a hoverboard becomes possible due to the presence of tilt sensors. When you are leaning forward, the tilt sensors compute the extent of your lean and send signals to the gyroscopes. The gyroscopes send all the information to the logic board.
Depending on the angle of your lean, the logic board instructs the motors to spin at a particular speed – the more you lean forward, the faster the motors spin.
The logic board does all these computations keeping the center of gravity into consideration. In this way, you can control the speed and direction of your hoverboard with your body weight.
How Does A Hoverboard Segway Work?
Segway hoverboards are electric scooters with handlebars. They have large tires of up to 20″ in size, which ensures higher balance and more convenience, especially while riding on crooked, rough, and submerged terrains.
They come with LED light indicators so that you can ride it safely, even in dimly lit or dark conditions. They can run as speedily as 18km/hr and can carry loads as high as 125 kg.
Segway hoverboards or scooters have high-capacity Brush DC motors that can run for 40km per charge. Strong Li-ion batteries power them.
Unlike traditional hoverboards, the Segway electric scooters come with adjustable handlebars, which will assist you in maneuvering your hoverboard more easily into any direction you want. Remote controls can also be used to operate them.
MiniPro hoverboard is another Segway product. While the first handlebar version was aimed at mostly tour guides and security guards to be used at airports and other places, the latest MiniPro version is aimed at average consumers and is priced under $1000.
The MiniPro version does not have handlebars but have kneepads instead, and is very sturdy and consistent at the performance. The kneepads come with little spindles that rotate to adjust the kneepad up and down for better balance.
When you hop onto a Segway MiniPro, you would need to download an app for your mobile phone. This app will let you maneuver the hoverboard remotely via Bluetooth and will also assist you in controlling the speed limits.
Segway hoverboards work in the same as any other traditional hoverboard. Step on it, apply pressure on the footpads for steering to the left or right and lean forward if you need to go faster. If you want to hover backward, just lean more to the back. If you want it to come to a halt, just stand straight and be motionless.
They can run at a speed of 10 miles per hour, so you would like to maintain safety precautions. They come with LED lights that blink depending on the direction you are aiming toward—this will remind you of car headlights.
Segway hoverboards have powerful motors that can run for 7 miles at a single charge. Segway frames can withstand loads of 80-108 kg. The wheels are made of rubber-made air-filled tires. Therefore, they can survive rough and uneven terrains.
How Does A Flying Hoverboard Work?
Certain hoverboards, like the Omni, Hendo, and Lexus models, will actually propel you through the air.
Omni hoverboards are like tiny helicopters, the difference being that in helicopters, you sit underneath the rotors, and in the case of Omni hoverboards, you stand on top of the rotors.
All hoverboards need an upward thrust to propel across terrains, air, or water, and Omni hoverboards get this force from the air itself.
Mechanisms attached to these hoverboards impose a downward force on air. As a result, the rotors get hit by an opposing upward thrust from the air. These hoverboards are fantastic because you can maneuver them to fly across lands and water stretches too.
Hendo hoverboards use electromagnets which interact with conducting surfaces by creating dynamic electromagnetic fields.
When the electromagnets alter the magnetic field, an electric current generates on the metallic surface located right below the hoverboard frame.
This electric current then produces its own electromagnetic field, which acts against the electromagnetism generated by the hoverboard electromagnets. These opposing electromagnetic fields make the hoverboard take flight.
Lexus hoverboards use superconductors to generate electromagnetic fields, unlike the Hendo hoverboards that use electromagnets.
When superconductors come into close contact with magnets, they oppose and create a levitating effect. This levitating effect makes the hoverboard rise high up and fly.
How Does A Jet Hoverboard Work?
Franky Zapata, the daredevil entrepreneur, has developed the jet hoverboards. Jet hoverboards run on jet fuel and powerful engines. They will literally make you hover, not only ride on wheels on terrains.
The rider needs to wear a backpack containing kerosene jet fuel, which lets them have 10 minutes of lag time. Jet hoverboards run on four 250 horsepower turbo engines which make you fly to any direction you want, and also have some additional turbo-engines on the sides to maintain stability.
The device uses an independent propulsion unit, and the engines are made to function on strict algorithms and are controllable separately depending on the thrust and inclination angle. Jet hoverboards can run on only three engines as well, so it will not hurt you in case an engine fails mid-air.
The machine is capable of reaching a speed of up to 80 miles per hour at unbelievable altitudes of 9000 feet. If you want to fly above 10,000 feet, you would need to wear oxygen masks.
Jet powered hoverboards work in exactly the same way as traditional all-terrain hoverboards. The direction you want to turn toward, just lean your body more in that direction.
The drawbacks of jet-powered hoverboards are that they are quite noisy and consume a lot of gas—about one gallon per minute. It is also quite expensive to be used by average hoverboard enthusiasts.
How Does A Water Hoverboard Work?
Water hoverboards or flyboards are an amalgamation of a jet board and a traditional hoverboard. Franky Zapata is behind the invention and experimentation of water hoverboards as well.
This amazing contraption allows the user to propel underwater and also several feet into the air. This water hoverboard consists of a footrest which is connected via a long U-shaped pipe. This pipe is again affixed to a supply hose that channels water to a jet-ski.
The jet-ski pumps out water at such a high speed that the rider goes 30 to 35 feet into the air. With this water pressure, the rider can zip around under the water surface quickly.
The water hose or pipe of flyboards is usually as long as 55 feet. Therefore, navigation becomes quite convenient. The rider is secured to the board via durable foot straps, and once the ride is complete, the board locks back into place just above the U-shaped pipe.
Flyboards work in about the same way as any other conventional all-terrain hoverboard. The rider can maneuver the direction and speed of the flyboard with his body movements.
If you want to ride a flyboard, you need to have a certified jet-skier accompanying you to control the ski-throttle. If you want to ride it alone, you can use an EMK or Electronic Management Kit to control the throttle by yourself.
Installing a flyboard to a PWC pump is quite easy, once you know how to do it. Flyboards are compatible with several best hoverboard brands of PWC, including those of Suzuki, Yamaha, and Honda.
When not in use, or if the water-ski fails to function at any point underwater, the board is highly buoyant and will rise from underneath the depths of water and will float on the water surface.
Despite the safety features of the water hoverboards, you must maintain precautions by wearing a helmet and floatation device. You should also do a lot of practice in fully-supervised areas before aiming to ride alone.
There is another version of the water hoverboard available, manufactured again by Zapata Racing. This version resembles a conventional terrain-hoverboard more than the sophisticated flyboards described above, but they work following the same principle.
The board, made of carbon fiber, attaches by a pipe to the jet-ski, which shoots water out at top speeds propelling the rider to surf or ski on the water surface at a speed of 25 miles per hour.
It can also force its way up into the air as high as 26 feet. The throttle on the hoverboard is controllable using similar devices used for flyboards.
How Does A Bluetooth Hoverboard Work?
Most hoverboards used nowadays are compatible with Bluetooth facilities. Segway hoverboards, for example, need to be activated using an app, which enables the user to control the speed limits of the board remotely using his mobile device, for example, a Smartphone.
Certain versions of hoverboards could even play music for you via Bluetooth. These versions have in-built speakers inside the boards which could be connected to a Bluetooth receiver.
It is quite easy to establish a connection between a hoverboard and your mobile device—power on the hoverboard and then turn on the Bluetooth connectivity of your mobile device, and your device and hoverboard will do the rest automatically.
The latest hoverboard versions are compatible with Smartphones of all versions—be they Androids or IOS devices.
So after you have connected your mobile device with the hoverboard, how do you switch on the music? Install any app into your device—YouTube, Soundcloud, Spotify or Apple Music—play our favorite hoverboard riding number, and off you go!
Some of the best Bluetooth hoverboards include Swagtron T3, Xtremepower US, and Skque 8″ and 10″ models.
Frequently Asked Questions
1) How can you ride a hoverboard without falling?
Answer: Step onto the hoverboard with your dominant foot first. Hold your hands straight up on your two sides if you need to. When you are standing straight and motionless, so should the hoverboard. If you want to go forward, just lean a little at the front. The ability to ride a hoverboard flawlessly will require a lot of practice.
2) How many miles can a hoverboard travel?
Answer: With a fully-charged hoverboard, you can expect to have a pleasurable ride for around 2-6 hours.
3) How should you dismount from your hoverboard?
Answer: Never step forward, this is one of the biggest mistakes that rookies make. When you are ready to dismount, put your dominant foot backward first, and then put down the other foot. Also, try to stay relaxed.
Hoverboards have evolved by ten folds since their introduction in the early 2000s. Earlier hoverboards came with handlebars, were mostly two-wheelers, with fewer perks, and were quite expensive.
Modern hoverboards may or may not have handlebars or kneebars, and could be maneuvered quite easily using body movements. In fact, some hoverboards are so smart that people can’t help but ask, “How does a hoverboard work?”
A clever interaction between sensors, gyroscopes, motors, and logic boards inside the hoverboard frame, enables the gadget to function flawlessly in transporting you from point A to point B.
Modern hoverboards are not only able to glide you across solid terrains, but also through air and water. For example, consider flyboards and jet-boards – though they are yet to be made more open for average user consumptions, their arrival has already created mayhem of popularity among people of all ages.
Hoverboards are way ahead of their time, and we are yet to accept the wonders of this ultra-modern gadget. Who knows, one-day hoverboards may redefine the concept of future transportation systems?
If you have more queries regarding hoverboards, feel free to leave them in the inquiry section, and we will get back to you with all the information you need.
Some best-branded hoverboards like Hover 1 electric self-balancing scooter include a remote control as a bonus feature. While you can do without it, it certainly makes your life easier. The remote control has a couple of functions it performs, which include locking the hoverboard when you are not using it and switching the hoverboard’s modes. The modes include beginners’ mode, which is much easier to master, and control for a novice rider.
It also includes Bluetooth feature that enables the hoverboard to play music while commuting. It connects with your smartphone via Bluetooth and can be controlled by mobile app. There are some hoverboards in market that are recognized as best Bluetooth hoverboard.
After reading through this post, I am sure you are now well versed in how a hoverboard works and are eager to get your own if you haven’t already. Accidents in the past may make you uneasy about getting your own as they seemed to pose a fire hazard and more.
However, you would be so happy to know that they are now much safer as today hoverboards are made in the proper way fulfilling some mandatory tests. Physical property test, Chemical test, UL 2272, UL 2271, UL1310, UL1012, UL2580, UL1642, UL 2054, and many more certifications are required for companies to market the product. Hoverboard manufacturing has gone back to the future.
You just need to make sure you get your hoverboard from a reputable source, and its certification is a must to ensure its safety. Always try to buy hoverboards from reputed companies. Swagtron is one of the most reputed brands present in the market. Read Swagtron Hover review here.
Do not deny yourself the joy of riding a hoverboard and start riding today.
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