Original Hoverboard Maker, Tired Of ‘Unsafe’ Stigma, Has New Board That Won’t Explode
If there’s a single product that encapsulates the average westerner’s feelings of Chinese tech, it’s the hoverboard. When it debuted in 2014 in China, it drew plenty of intrigue from the west for its slightly dorky, but unique and innovative take on the personal transportation device. Of course, countless imitators, most cheaply and hastily made, were pumped out by Chinese companies within months, flooding the global market from suburban California to downtown London. By 2015 news headlines popped up around the globe of hoverboards catching fire, and viral videos flooded social media showing teens spinning out of control while on one.
Today, the general consensus of the hoverboard is that they’re cheap, gimmicky and unsafe.
This doesn’t sit well with Shenzhen-based Chic, the company behind the original hoverboard. (They have the patents to show for it.)
“We didn’t even call it that when we patented the thing,” laments Carlos Xie, product manager of Chic. “We called it a self-balancing scooter.”
That name may not exactly roll off the tongue, but it’s a far more accurate description than what Back to the Future-loving Americans came up with. Alas, the name has stuck.
Xie says most of the hoverboards that went up in flames were knock offs, though he admits that his company’s own had issues because they were produced by various different factories around China.
Ever since that realization, Xie says the company has worked hard in producing a sequel: one that rides better, looks better, and most important of all — won’t explode.
The company spent two years developing the project and building up its own factory — “we will not let third party factories manufacture our boards again,” Xie says — and today the finished product is here.
Officially named the Pi, this new hoverboard’s superior build quality is apparent from the first look. While the hoverboards we’re used to seeing are usually made of cheap plastic and feature two connecting parts (that creaks and breaks easily), the Pi is crafted out of an aluminum unibody and has quite a bit of heft to it — 22lbs, to be exact.
So let’s address the most important issue: Why is Pi more safe than the previous board?
The Pi’s lithium battery is, essentially, wrapped twice over in aluminum for protection. The board’s body is, as mentioned, one giant aluminum case, but the battery itself is wrapped inside another aluminum casing that Xie says is flame retardant.
It has also, according to Xie, passed the UL2272 test, which was created by an independent safety testing company specifically to test hoverboards.
In fact, Xie was so eager during our meeting, he took the board apart to show me its battery.
Taking the Pi apart, and then putting it back together, is surprisingly easy, because the board was designed to be somewhat modular in mind. Xie says the wheels and battery are replaceable, and things like the foot pad can be swapped for a different color for customization.
While Xie took apart the Pi, he pointed out that the entire thing is almost wire free — the only exception is the LED light panel — which is an impressive feat of hoverboard hardware craftsmanship. Less wires means less ways to damage. I handled all the parts and they did feel very sturdy.
So aside from the supposedly “super safe” battery, the Pi has other advantages over its first gen counterpart: the foot pedal sensors have been improved to be more sensitive to subtle pressure. Xie says that picking up the board easier. The unibody design also makes the board a lot sturdier because there are no moving parts other than the wheels.
Xie says all the boards are now produced in house in the company’s own Shenzhen factory, and though the company has launched the board on Kickstarter, mass production has begun.
Chic will also bring the Pi to CES next January, and the boards will be sold globally. On Kickstarter right now the early bird price is US$499, which Xie concedes is more expensive than people may be used to.
“I know some will say the Pi is overprice[d], because they look at hoverboards like a cheap plastic toy,” he says. “But the Pi is not meant to be toy, it’s meant to be a personal transportation vehicle. It’s meant to replace a bicycle or an electric scooter.”
I’m not sure if most of the world can use a hoverboard as a real transportation tool, as there are laws against riding a hoverboard on the street or sidewalk in many cities around the world, but for people who like to ride for fun, the Pi is a big step up from the hoverboards we’ve been used to.
Chic Pi Redefined Unibody Hoverboard
Forget everything you know and check out the Chic Pi Redefined Unibody Hoverboard. Combining sleek style with unprecedented safety, this board makes getting from A to B as fun as ever. The Pi Hoverboard features a UL2272-standard battery complete with an aluminum casing. It functions with better heat emission, is flame retardant, and extra protection. In addition, it has no wire. Working together, the Pi Hoverboard has a 0% fire risk. You can ride in total confidence and peace of mind. In addition, the Pi Hoverboard is built for the elements. It has an IP55 rating to be both water and dust resistant. Finally, most exterior elements are totally customizable. You can choose the pedal, tire, and fender color to make your Pi Hoverboard totally unique.
Link to the original article: https://thegadgetflow.com/portfolio/redefined-unibody-hoverboard/
Make exploding batteries a thing of the past with the Chic Pi hoverboard
Hoverboards have suffered quite the bad rap over the last several years, what with exploding batteries making for distinctly uninviting rides. But now, there’s a new hoverboard hoping to change our perceptions once and for all. Meet the Chic Pi, heralded as the 2.0 version of the hoverboard that we all deserve.
Let’s start with the most contentious component of the board: The battery. Unlike previous models, the Chic Pi boasts the world’s first aluminum casing battery, which promises better heat emission, flame-retardant capabilities, and extra protection. Moreover, Chic Pi promises that this battery features no wires, which reduces the risk of an electrical short. Consequently, the team claims, the Pi Hoverboard has a zero percent fire risk (though we’d certainly take that claim with a large grain of salt).
As far as the design of the board is concerned, the Pi features a unibody setup that is entirely disparate from the traditional modular approach. Rather, this one-piece frame is made of aluminum, which promises to be stronger and more durable than its plastic counterparts. And because the foot pedals are precisely located and immovable, even beginner riders should be able to master operations in a short amount of time.
Moreover, the frame is completely sealed, which means that it’s IP55 water and dust resistant. So whether you’re boarding through a puddle or through sand (though the later seem more difficult), rest assured that the Pi can handle it.
The Pi also allows you to power it on without using your hands. Simply slide the board forward and backward once, and it will turn itself on automatically. Don’t bother pressing any power buttons with your hands — just place the Pi on the ground and get moving.
Of course, because this is a modern device, the Pi comes with a companion app that will allow you to set turning sensitivity, specific LED light styles, max speeds, and other parameters based on your comfort level and abilities. And as you become more of an expert, you can always change your settings accordingly.
Soon to come on Kickstarter, the Chic Pi will set you back $399, and should be delivered by the holidays.
Link to the original article: https://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/chic-pi-hoverboard/