Want A New Mode Of Transportation? Try Rollkers

There are many people around who still remember the old roller skates that you would strap onto your shoes and then try to skate around the neighborhood. Fast forward a few decades, take the design into the 21st century, and add a small battery-powered motor to each one, and you get the next generation of skates. The creator, Paul Chavand, has named them Rollkers.

Rollkers (Image via Gizmag)Rollkers (Image via Gizmag)

Chavand was daydreaming about how nice it would be to have moving sidewalks around the city like they have in airports. When he realized how impractical that idea would be he came up with the idea for Rollkers. Basically they are a way for people to move faster while walking. So you don't really skate -- you just walk.

Chavand and Rollkers (Image via Gizmag)Chavand and Rollkers (Image via Gizmag)

Rollkers just attach to any shoe, much like those old roller skates. To activate the motor you just need to walk forward. To stop you dip you just stop walking. Electronic stabilizers help keep you on your feet. The batteries last for approximately (and optimistically) one hour. I would imagine that this figure may need to be adjusted for how much weight the skates are carrying and how much wind the person may be dealing with.

Rollkers (Image via Gizmag)Rollkers (Image via Gizmag)

You don't need any special training to use them, although there is undoubtedly the need for a period of time to adjust to moving on them. Then you can walk at a speed of 7 miles per hour. I don't know. I still see myself face planting on the sidewalk with my butt in the air. But it would give me a chance to get a matching scar on my other elbow -- you know, opposite the one I got using those strap-on skates.

While the overall product is still being finalized, the Rollkers were unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January. The prototype looks fairly bulky and clumsy, but the final version is supposed to be much more slimmed down and portable. Rollkers are reportedly on track to be on the market later this year. Only time will tell if these "electronic under shoes" will become a boon to personal transportation or a bump on the road to something greater.

Sources: Wired, Gizmodo