LOS ANGELES — Acton, a manufacturer of mobility products, revealed earlier this month what it’s calling the world’s first smart electric skates.
The Acton R RocketSkates, which debuted on crowdfunding site Kickstarter, are designed to strap over a consumer’s shoe, requiring no remote control. They instead connect with an app on users’ smartphones, allowing them to track routes, monitor the skates’ battery life and play games.
Users will also be able to interact with other Rocket- Skates owners, and the company said it will make an SDK available for developers interested in creating app features for the skates.
“We have pioneered the idea of electric wearable mobility,” Peter Treadway, founder and chief technical officer of Acton, told TWICE. “We want a future in which people can wear their ability to get around — that we can go anywhere, anytime and become our transportation. We see the RocketSkates as an extension of walking.”
Treadway said the idea of RocketSkates came upon him while attempting to go into Los Angeles’ Chinatown for lunch but, in pure L.A. traffic-fashion, had trouble getting there. The idea of “taking transportation with you” then popped into his head.
“Ultimately, we would like [RocketSkates] to go unnoticed,” he said, noting that while they do have a direct transportation purpose, they also should be a “fun thing — something to get you out of the car, onto the street, and enjoy yourself while thinking about the world in a less automotive way.”
The company is gearing the product toward college students and urban dwellers, as well as those who want “to get out more, live more locally, and experiment with public transportation.”
RocketSkates, which are designed to be easy to walk in, come in three different models with increasing ranges: the R-6, which runs for 45 minutes; the R-8, which runs for 70 minutes; and the R-10, which runs for 90 minutes. All feature lithium-ion batteries and can reach max speeds of 12 mph. The skates, which weigh about 7 pounds and have rubber wheels, reportedly take between 90 minutes and 2.5 hours to fully charge.
According to Treadway, Acton is in the process of talking with a number of different retailers, ranging from “electric-savvy online stores that do and will love these skates” to “independent stores so people can have a place to go to try them out.”
As part of the product launch, Acton has priced the first 25 RocketSkates for $199 on Kickstarter — $300 off the regular retail. At press time, it had more than surpassed its $50,000 funding goal, reaching $237,231. According to the Kickstarter page, the skates are scheduled to begin shipping in October.
Acton was founded 2011. It showed its electric M Scooter at International CES in January.