A Hoverboard or a self-balancing electronic scooter is one futuristic transportation gadget that does not cease to marvel at us. Despite a short downfall in the years 2015 and 2016, due to Li-ion battery malfunctions, hoverboards have made a strong comeback with sturdier and safer versions.
How does a hoverboard work? 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.
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 Is A Hoverboard?
A hoverboard is a transportation device that runs mostly on two wheels, with the help of sensors, gyroscopes, and motors that are built inside the system. They may come with or without a handlebar, and they may or may not hover or fly as the name essentially indicates. Certain hi-tech versions, however, can levitate and fly in the air and across water bodies.
If you are new to hoverboards, you would need to maintain caution. At the initial stages of riding, you might fall off and hurt yourself, therefore wearing the safety gear should be the first step of action. Safety gears include a helmet, knee and elbow pads, among other things.
As a beginner, when you step onto a hoverboard, place your dominant foot first—that is, the foot you kick a football with or the foot you place forward first when you are stepping down a vehicle.
If your dominant foot is the right foot, place it at the farthest right end of the right-hand-side foot pedal. Do the opposite if your dominant foot is your left foot. After you have placed your dominant foot and got the hang of the shaky movements of the hoverboard, jump in with your other foot.
Try to establish a center point and move your feet back and forth unless you find the most comfortable posture for yourself. When you have placed the balls of your feet securely at the back of the trackpad, and your toes are just hanging over the front of the hoverboard, you should be ready to hover off.
If you want to move forward, apply foot pressure at the front by leaning forward. If you want to move backward, apply more pressure at the balls of your feet. Maneuver and alternate your feet movements if you’re going to turn around.
To keep practicing and follow the hoverboard tricks, getting used to the jerky, shaky movements of the hoverboard, try leaning forward and backward repetitively. With your leaning movement and extent, the hoverboard will sway gently back and forth, giving you time to get the hang of it.
Practice in your house first before taking your hoverboard out on the streets. Carpeted surfaces could be a safe place to start.
As a beginner, you can also read our latest article the best hoverboard for beginners here.
How Does A Hoverboard Work?
To know that, we need to understand how the different components inside the hoverboard harmonize to make the hoverboard function properly.
First, take a look at the list of components that make up the interior of a hoverboard:
- An exterior frame made of steel, with a pivotal weld
- Logic board
- Two gyroscopes
- Two Infrared (IR) sensors
- Two electric motors located inside the wheels
- Two-speed sensors placed inside the wheels
- Changing port, power switch, LED lights, Li-ion battery pack, pressure pads, and a plastic shell
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 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 presses 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 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 Hoverboard Work?
Hoverboards, also known as self-balancing scooters or smartboards, are a lot of fun to ride with, but requires plenty of practice. Since the hoverboards do not come with any handles, therefore balance is the pivotal aspect of riding on a hoverboard.
Before riding one, however, the user must know and understand the mechanism inside the machine. At first, managing the tilt angle and the speed on a hoverboard might seem a tad complicated, but regular practice will get you used to it.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the inside of an ideal hoverboard:
The frame of the hoverboard is the basis of its structure and is hour-glass shaped, with a pivotal center. The interior of the frame is metallic, made mostly of aluminum alloys. The welding at the center and the structure itself is highly resistant to breakage unless an abnormal force or pressure is applied to it.
There are metallic pins fitted inside the central welds that keep the two metallic foot-pedals from rotating 360°.
2. Logic Board
The logic board is the brain of your hoverboard that controls and harmonizes all processes to keep the machine going.
It is the processor that receives information from the sensors and carries out instantaneous calculations regarding the speed and the tilt angle of each wheel. These real-time computations by the logic board ensure that you ride at incredible speeds with safety.
3. IR lights, Sensors and Motor
These three features work together to present you with a smooth riding experience. The footpads of hoverboards are pressure-sensitive. When you are standing still, the Infra-red lights lit up, which the sensors detect and signal the motor to stay still or at rest.
As soon as you lean forward, the pressure on the footpad’s increases, and a switch located at the front of the footpads, becomes activated. This switch disrupts the connection to the IR lights, triggering them to be switched off.
The sensors detect this change and signal the motors to start working, making the hoverboard move. The direction of movement can be controlled by the activation of specific switches, listed as follows:
- If you want to go to the right, apply pressure on the left switch
- If you intend to head to the left, apply pressure on the right switch
- If you want to head forward in a straight line, apply pressure on both switches simultaneously
4. Managing the tilt and the speed
The motors of hoverboards are built inside the wheels. When the wheels run and tilt at a specific angle, the sensors detect that. The sensors then send the information to the motors to act accordingly.
You calibrate your hoverboard when you first place it on a level ground, which has zero inclination. This particular piece of data teaches the hoverboard that flat surfaces have a “zero” tilt angle.
Leaning at specific angles is an essential decision-maker at the direction and speed of the ride. If you stand straight and motionless on your hoverboard, it will not move. As soon as you lean, the motor gets activated, and you start moving forward.
The more you lean, the faster your hoverboard will go. Speed sensors calculate RPM or rate per minute. The speed sensors then send these computations to the gyroscopes and speed regulating mechanisms, so that you don’t accidentally run onto a tree and hurt yourself. That takes us to the next point of discussion.
5. Gyroscopes and speed control
The gyroscopes and the accelerometers are located inside the main housing of the hoverboard interiors. Accelerometers consider gravity while computing, thus working as an inclinometer too.
The accelerometer sends “noisy signals” too, which produce when the hoverboard starts accelerating to different directions randomly.
Speed sensors send RPM data regarding the ongoing speed and the tilt angle of the hoverboard to the gyroscopes and accelerometers. Gyroscopes are mainly responsible for the maintenance of balance on the hoverboard.
As the wheels rotate, gyroscopes do not measure the tilt angle. It measures the rate at which an angle tilts or changes with movements. Gyroscopes then pass on the information to the logic board.
Once the measurement of the tilt angle and speed is complete, the hoverboard quickly takes action on these signals. This is where the motors jump in.
Hoverboards use superior ‘brushless” motors that have an anti-cogging design, meaning they have fewer poles and more magnets in their structuring.
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.