Glide like a HAWK

There’s a lot of interest in personal mobility devices nowadays as it seems like humans are trying to invent ways around ever needing to walk. The seminal product was arguably the Segway, but there are a host of tech startups coming up with less bulky and cooler ways to zip across short distances.

Justin Bieber and his brother on the IO Hawk. All the tweens want one.

One of them that has been trending on social media is the IO Hawk, in no small part due to celebrities like Justin Bieber, Chris Brown and Kendell Jenner sharing videos and photographs of themselves riding one.

The IO Hawk measures almost 25 inches long and you might think that it would be difficult to balance without handlebars, but a gyroscope keeps the device (and you) in balance as it cruises at relaxed (and safe) speeds of up to 6 mph. Sure, the Segway can go twice as fast, but it still beats walking or even running, for most of us (Usain Bolt, we are not).

The Hawk is steered by applying subtle pressure from your body through your feet – lean forward and backwards to “compel” the device to move accordingly, and shift your weight to turn. The board responds intuitively and is surprisingly easy to use from the get-go, as shown by experimenters from Buzzfeed:

With a bit of practice, this is how you’re supposed to ride it:

Each 3-hour battery charge can ferry you over 10 to 12 miles. The board is, however, only about an inch above the ground, so you don’t get much clearance over bumps and uneven surfaces; the company’s website says that the gadget can handle bumps of up to only half an inch. It also can only take a “light splash of water”, which means that if it starts raining, you’ll have to pick up the 22-pound device and dash with it to the nearest shelter, and we imagine that cannot be much fun.

IO Hawk is not the only player in the nascent personal motorised transport market (there’s PhunkeeDuck, Airwheel, Airboard and WalkCar, to name a few), but it is definitely one of the most expensive. If you are willing to part with US$1,800 in exchange for one, the company will start taking orders again on 30th September, after stopping for a time to fulfill all backorders.

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