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Professional Reviews:

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Ryan Lawler: It’s been less than a year since OneWheel hit Kick Starter, and they’re already building and shipping units. Today, we’re here at the manufacturing line to see how they put these things together. Let’s start with what’s new with OneWheel. What’s changed since the last time we talked?
Kyle Doerksen: Yeah, so we’ve totally overhauled the electronics and the firmware to really improve the ride quality. When we last saw you, you could ride OneWheel casually on a flat surface, but now it’s really got great hill climbing performance. You can ride on different types of surfaces, on grass, on dirt, on gravel. People are starting to do really big tricks with it. We’ve really engineered the product from the inside out, and the result is a much better riding experience.
Ryan Lawler: You actually have different modes now, right? You can have sort of a novice and expert mode?
Kyle Doerksen: Totally. With our new iPhone app that we literally just submitted to the app store yesterday, we introduced this concept of digital shaping. Digital shaping is a word that comes from the surfboard world. Shaping is making small changes to a board to make it ride differently to suit a rider and the conditions. From the app, we have digital shaping. By changing the firmware and the tuning values, we can change the way it rides. We can make it easier, more under control, more forgiving, or we can make it more aggressive, more athletic, faster, and more challenging for people.
Ryan Lawler: It’s been less than a year since you actually launched on Kick Starter, and you’re already shipping units?
Kyle Doerksen: Yes.
Ryan Lawler: That seems pretty unprecedented, especially for a product this complex. How did you manage to do that?
Kyle Doerksen: After the Kick Starter, we just took the ball and ran with it. We dove in, we hired people. We hired full time people, contract people, and we just staffed up a great team to make this happen. A big part of it too, was deciding to make the product in the US. We’ve been working with our contract manufacturer here to build the supply chain that brings in parts from all over the world. Finding all those vendors, getting connected, all of our parts are on their fifth or sixth revision now because we’ve just been iterating and pushing super hard to get it into production. We shipped our first several hundred units out to customers.
Ryan Lawler: Okay. Let’s actually talk about the manufacturing process. It’s happening behind us right now, and you have sort of what you think of as an old school assembly line. How does that work? Where are the different processes?
Kyle Doerksen: Here at out manufacturing facility in San Jose, we go from pieces of metal, wires, and circuit boards to OneWheels. That involves a lot of hand labor, also some custom design tools and fixtures that we’ve made to do it.
Ryan Lawler: Cool, so we’re going to walk through the different steps of the process here. What’s happening in this first section of the set assembly?
Kyle Doerksen: There’s three main parts to the OneWheel. There’s the controller, the battery module, and the motor. This is the controller. A circuit board gets assembled into its enclosure. These are PCB assemblies that we get built across the bay in Fremont. They come over here. She assembles them and tests them as the first step. After the controller is mounted and assembled in there, then this is where the enclosure gets put together. We have waterproof gaskets that seal everything in. She’s assembling that using a little torque wrench. She’s also making some final checks that all the connectors are properly assembled and that everything is sealed in.
Ryan Lawler: Does this happen from both sides of the OneWheel, or is this just one?
Kyle Doerksen: On one side of the OneWheel is the controller, and the other side is the battery module. Here, she’s building the battery module. This holds the powerful lithium iron phosphate battery that’s in OneWheel, and it also has the cable that connects the two sides. It connects the battery to the motor controller. You’ll see also in the front, there’s a little strip of LEDs. There’s white and red LEDs on either side. Depending on which direction you’re going, you always have a head light and a tail light. This section of the line is where we actually mount the tires on the motor. The motor is custom developed for us. It’s a brushless hub motor. You see it’s actually integrated. It is the wheel itself. We take a racing go-kart tire, and that gets mounted on using this machine over here.
Once they’re mounted up, we take them over to this jig. We do a quick test spinning the motor for about a minute, making sure that it spins properly in both direction, and there’s not any weird vibration or sound. With that done, we come down here. This is really where things start getting integrated and become a OneWheel. You can see right now, he’s putting the controller module into a OneWheel. Controller module at this end, battery module is already installed at the other end. Once that’s done, we’ll drop in the motor and tire sub-assembly, and it’ll look like a OneWheel. The firmware gets loaded at some of these earlier stages. When we get down to this last stage, it’s really the final integration.
He’s logging data about this particular OneWheel, keeping track of all the serial numbers for the sub module, so that if anybody has questions in the field, we can trace back to exactly when it was made, when each module was made, who made them, and what components were in it, so we can diagnose anything that comes up. This is where, once he’s done with that, he attaches the foot pads. The foot pads are actually made down in Southern California. One of the changes since we last saw you was, before we had a little button that you had to step on with your foot. We’ve since replaced that with this special fore-sensing pad that’s under the grip tape. Under this blue area, you just put your foot anywhere in this blue area, and that’s what activates the OneWheel. It’s actually like a smart foot pad.
Ryan Lawler: Then it gets put in this box, here.
Kyle Doerksen: Exactly. The final stage is taking the OneWheel, once it’s all buttoned up, doing final TQC quality checks, and putting it in our packaging.
Ryan Lawler: All right, cool. Well thanks for the tour, and good luck.
Kyle Doerksen: For sure. Thanks a lot.

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Sam: What’s up everyone. Sam Sheffer here, and I’m back with yet another rideable. This is the Onewheel. I actually rode this last January at CES and that was a prototype board. It was really hard to ride. I didn’t really know how to stop. It was pretty wobbly, felt pretty dangerous.
The company actually just shipped their Kickstarter backers the final product and that’s the one I’m riding now. They redid basically everything in the board, reprogrammed the way this thing works, and it is awesome. It is not a skateboard. This thing is like a futuristic [hoverboard-esque 00:00:46] thing with a giant go-kart wheel in the middle.
Like I said, the first board I rode was pretty difficult to ride and the first time I stepped on this thing I was able to go. In order to ride it you have to put your back foot on then place your front foot on which deactivates the kill switch. You come into balance and you sort of just lean. It’s so easy to just go over anything … I’m going to over the middle mounds. Oh, and right back down smoothly …
This is what I call off-roading. You could really take this thing on any terrain you want. We’re on a college campus here and most of it is cement but there’s also grass mounds. You can go up and down curbs and it’s really smooth the entire way. I went down a curb with no problem on my first try.
This is Onewheel’s app. The first thing that the app shows you is battery percentage, so we’re down to about 40 because we’ve been riding for a while. I guess the main part of the app, the reason why you should download this is because the company has what they called digital shaping, which simply let’s you change the mode your board is in. Right now we’re at extreme mode and it has a top speed of 13 miles an hour. For beginners, you can put it the classic mode. It slows down the board, it sort of helps you find yourself.
They say it has a range of 4 to 6 miles, so that’ll probably take you about an hour until the battery dies, but there is a charger that it comes with that will take 20 minutes to charge this thing from 0 to 100 which is basically unheard of. I’ve really never ridden anything like this and this final production version is very cool.
That’s the Onewheel. It is one of the most fun rideables I’ve ever ridden. $1500 bucks is a lot to ask for, for this thing. It self-balances you. It goes forward and backwards. Got headlights and taillights that dynamically change, and it’s really awesome. Stopping is actually pretty easy. You sort of just slide your front foot up off the pad and bail like that. Just like that, actually. Yep.

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Alexis Santos: Alexis Santos here, and it is the final day of CES 2014 and I am tired of walking. As such we have one wheel so it can do the transportation for me. It is pretty much a one wheel skateboard. Here we have Kyle Dirksen.
Kyle Dirksen: Hey.
Alexis Santos: The creator of one wheel. It’s now on Kickstarter.
Kyle Dirksen: That’s right. We just launched on Monday on Kickstarter.
Alexis Santos: Yeah. You’re asking for about a hundred thousand bucks?
Kyle Dirksen: That’s right.
Alexis Santos: And you are?
Kyle Dirksen: We’re in the mid ninety thousands right now, so we’ll be funding soon.
Alexis Santos: In a matter of hours you guys will have hit your goal. Give us an idea of how you got the idea for it. I mean it’s sort of futuristic looking.
Kyle Dirksen: Yeah. The key technology is self balancing technology. There’s a powerful motor in the hub of the wheel. There’s lithium batteries under one foot, and there’s the brain under the other foot, which has mams gyro and acceleromaters and a micro controller. Running control to balance you out. That means you just lean forward to go forward, lean back to slow down, and lean to your heels or toes to slow down. I love snow boarding. I live in California so we got a few months of awesome snow boarding, and I particularly love snow boarding on powder. I also work down at the bay and there’s not a lot of powder snow boarding in the bay. I wanted to make a vehicle where I could experience powder snow boarding on my way to work.
Alexis Santos: It’s more like a snow board than it is a skate board.
Kyle Dirksen: Yeah. I would say it’s more like snow boarding on powder or wake boarding than a conventional skateboard.
Alexis Santos: How much is this going on Kickstarter?
Kyle Dirksen: For pre-orders on Kickstarter it’s Twelve hundred ninety nine dollars with a standard charger. That’s a two hour charge time. Then with the ultra charger that cuts that to twenty minutes it’s thirteen ninety nine.
Alexis Santos: All right enough background. Can I give it a try?
Kyle Dirksen: Sure. Sure. Absolutely.
Alexis Santos: Let me see. Let me start Google glass here. Okay glass. Record Video.
Kyle Dirksen: Now the key is coming up to level very slowly. Once you get to level that’s where the self balancing kicks in. You’re going to do that and you’re going to lean very lightly to your front foot.
Alexis Santos: All right.
Kyle Dirksen: Then you’ll be riding. The key is being very relaxed coming up to level very slowly, and then super light pressure to your front foot.
Alexis Santos: Okay. So let’s give this a shot.
Kyle Dirksen: If you don’t like it jump off.
Alexis Santos: Is it off?
Kyle Dirksen: It’s on.
Alexis Santos: It’s on. Oh. Whoa.
Kyle Dirksen: Jump off. Jump off.
Alexis Santos: That is something. Wow. Okay.
Kyle Dirksen: Most people wobble there first couple times, and then they get the hang of it.
Alexis Santos: Wow.
Kyle Dirksen: You’re going to come up even much more slowly. Lean lightly to your front foot. Think ninja skills. Yeah. Now lean to your right foot. Lean to your right foot. There we go.
Alexis Santos: Oh boy. Oh boy.
Kyle Dirksen: There you go. There you go.
Alexis Santos: Watch out man. That is pretty cool. I can feel myself getting the hang of it. It’s not to difficult. Now let’s see what a seasoned veteran can do on this thing.
Man. Well thanks for talking with us Kyle.
Kyle Dirksen: Awesome.
Alexis Santos: If this thing would fit on my carry on luggage I would try to take it from you, but I think I’d get charged a bit extra.
Kyle Dirksen: Right on. Great first ride.
Alexis Santos: Thanks, and much success to you.

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Sean: Hey, everyone. I’m Sean at Engadget, and I’m here with Kyle Doerksen the creator of Onewheel to check out the Onewheel. We first saw this at CES last year, and now it’s not a Kickstarter product; it’s on the production line. What’s new? What’s changed in the last year with Onewheel?
Kyle: That’s right. So we went to CES, we really had a prototype of the Onewheel, and it functioned, it was kind of a proof of concept, but since then, we’ve really re-engineered everything. So we got a totally new custom motor. We’re working with a really cool company that developed that specifically for us, and we developed a new kind of motor controller. So to get into the tech of it, back then, we were using what’s called a trapezoidal controller. Now, we’re using a field-oriented controller. That means it’s much smoother, it’s much more powerful, and from a rider’s perspective, you can go faster or you can go up or down steeper hills.
We really totally re-engineered everything, so we added waterproofing, we integrated the LED lighting which was one of our stretch goals on Kickstarter, and we changed the way we detect whether there’s a rider on it.
Sean: You sent a lot of these out to early backers who received pre-production versions before it hit the production line. What do they think about the change from the button? Did they lose tactile feedback? Was that … Did that make riding it easier or harder?
Kyle: One of the beauties of Kickstarter is you get to kind of co-develop the product with your customers, right? So based on the feedback of those first dozen people that actually have Onewheels now, we were able to tweak the firmware. The rider-detect works great. We just added some indications on the grip tape that actually show you where the rider-detect is, and so we’ve updated the firmware so that now, it’s smoother and people are running into some little difficulties with dropping off a little step, so we reworked the firmware, retuned a few things, and actually were able to update the firmware on the early backers’ boards.
Sean: Early backers have had this for about a month now. When can regular backers, not early birds, expect to have their board shipped?
Kyle: No, those boards start shipping out next week, so it’s a really exciting time for us.
Right now, we’re still in a pre-order stage, and there’s a limited number of boards still available where if you pre-order them now, you’ll get them in December. So between now and December, we’re shipping all the Kickstarter boards, plus everyone else who’s pre-ordered the boards since then, which is quite a few Onewheels.
Sean: So now you’ve got the board from the Kickstarter we saw in January at CES to the final version. What’s next after? Now that you’ve got this project complete.
Kyle: Yeah, so it might feel like we have this complete, but really, we’re just beginning to get this out to people and see what they do with it. We really see developing OneWheel as a new board sport. So for us, it’s going to be a feedback loop of seeing what people try to do, what they think they can do. Maybe we need to change the firmware and things like that to let them do it better, and then obviously, we’ve got some version 2 products we’re working on in the lab that extend this concept even farther.
Speaker 3: Swiping between menus and through open applications and firing up apps and closing them and scrolling through long web pages is absolutely buttery smooth. It’s a sight to be- …

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Speaker 1: Today I would like to demonstrate to you the latest electric skateboard, the One Wheel, successfully funded on Kickstarter, one year ago, and I finally received it 3 or 4 days ago.
As you can see, this thing is a very cool device to play with. Beginner might find it difficult to just stand on it without wobbling. It can be quite dangerous for some people. I thought I would like to share some tips and Frequently Asked Questions, after we tried it for 3 days, and also for you to decide whether this thing is the right device for you.
Okay, so here we have the two [inaudible 00:00:37]. We have tried a few different funny device here. One of them is getting quite popular these days, the Air Wheel, or some call it the Solar Wheel, and the other, is of course the One Wheel.
It was written on the Air Wheel, Solar Wheel description, that it would be dangerous to go on a slope, going up or down. It’s recommended not to, although my friends tried it before. Yeah, the One Wheel is actually performing very well, when I was going uphill or down, up-slope or down-slope.
Next thing you should know is that the package itself, it comes with just the board, an instruction manual, one charger and also 2 sets of replacement plastic. As you can see, this thing wanted to stop, basically it was just keep brush against this area, so they come with replacement parts, just in case if you damage it too much.
Ride itself is actually very intuitive, but the first thing you should know is that this is not a self-balancing board. It works by a simple gyro that accelerates towards whichever direction you put weight on. In other words, you have to control and balance yourself.
The next thing you should know is how to get on and off safely. As you can see, there’s this loose strap here. The moment you keep on, you step on it, put pressure on it, you will start going towards that direction, or balancing as you say. Yeah, but not really balancing. That’s how that works.
In order to get off safely, you just need to slowly or quickly … OK, the instruction manual suggests you to either jump off 2 legs at a time, or slowly lift off your feet, which I pressing on the sensor, and let it just rest on. Yep, that’s how it works. Okay, so you step on it, and there we go.
Okay, shall we take this thing for a spin?
Come to me, but don’t hit me.
Speaker 2: How are you?
Speaker 1: Thanks for watching. I hope you find this video useful. Another reason why I’m making this video, is because my team and myself, we are developing a new type of electric personal mobility, personal electric mobility. Please check out the comments below, because I will be announcing it soon, and I will place a link down there. If you don’t see it, that means it’s not yet up. Yeah, please stay tuned.

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Will: Hey guys. I’m Will from Test It, and I’m at Maker Fair 2014 with Jack from one wheel. You guys have made, well it’s something I’ve never really seen before. What exactly have you guys done here?
Jack: Yeah. This is the first self balancing electric skate board. Basically, it’s really intuitive. There’s a hub motor in there, and it’s self balancing. You lean and it’ll propel you in the direction you lean.
Will: I don’t want to be reductive, but it’s kind of like a Segway, right?
Jack: Yeah, you could think of it. It’s similar technology. Of course, what the Segway did was ten years ago so they had five or six gyros. That’s all compressed into a single chip now one the one wheel.
Will: Different components. We have the one big wheel, obviously. It’s kind of a unique wheel. It’s a smooth wheel. It looks like you can rock back and forth pretty good on it, right?
Jack: Yeah. It’s actually a go cart racing tire. They’re expected to go like a hundred and forty miles an hour, which sort of gives you an idea of what we’re going for here. What it does, what’s unique about it is, one it makes an incredibly smooth ride. This was inspired by the feeling of snowboarding on powder, and that’s what the go cart wheel does for you. It gives you that feeling that you’re floating.
Will: Carving asphalt.
Jack: Exactly. The other thing is the carving element. You’re actually leaning heel to toe as you would on a snowboard. You put those two factors together and it gives you this really unbelievable experience.
Will: Norm you look pretty tense right now.
Norm: I was totally on relax, so I can definitely feel the heel toe. If I put too much pressure on the heel or toe then I will lean that way, but if I relax I’m going to stay perfectly still. It’s like really well balanced.
Will: Components are battery, motor, electronics. How far can you go, and how fast can you go?
Jack: It goes twelve miles an hour, which feels super fast when there’s nothing under your front foot.
Will: I’ve got to imagine that feels pretty terrifying.
Jack: Yeah. Terrifying, awesome somewhere between the two. It goes four to six miles and recharges in twenty minutes. Better than your smart phone in that sense.
Will: If you live in town you could almost commute … Like if you can commute with a skateboard you can commute with this, right?
Jack: Yeah, yeah. We call it a last mile vehicle. You get off the train, you’re going to your office, you hop on the one wheel. You can take it into the coffee shop. Recharge it as you recharge … We’ve seen a problem with urban transportation, and so we’re sort of remedying that with something that feels amazing to ride.
Will: Okay. We haven’t shown how you get on and off of this. Can you help? Norm I don’t think knows how to get off, right?
Norm: Well there’s a button I’m stepping on, and that’s what’s stabling it. If I slide my foot off the button it doesn’t stabilize me anymore.
Jack: Norm is stuck. We’re going to have to give Norm a microphone and he’s just going to have to go around all day today.
Will: Just ride around, okay?
Jack: What you got to do is … You can try to ride some where, or you can … There you go.
Will: He’s riding. Norm has no experience with board sports, for what it’s worth.
Jack: Come back to us Norm. Very well done. So to get off this is the trick. You got to slide your toe, this toe, off of the switch. Perfect.
Will: Nice. Jack, One wheel, is it available now? Where can people buy? Where can people find out more?
Jack: Yeah. We actually launched on Kickstarter in January. We raised Six hundred and thirty K in three weeks, so we’re in production. We’re funded. You can pre order now for Fourteen nine nine on our website. It’s rideonewheel.com, and we’re @rideonewheel for twitter and Instagram, and we’re on Facebook. So check us out. We appreciate all the love, and we’re just having fun.
Will: Thank you so much. We’ll have more on Test It from Maker Fair 2014 soon. See you guys later.

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