Team members from Chaotic Moon Labs have devoted a chunk of their office hours recently to roaming the streets of Austin on a longboard. They are currently skating around the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, likely turning heads as they do. Their board happens to be an electric one, using a Samsung tablet, phidgets, and Microsoft’s Kinect to steer the motorized ride with gestures and voice commands.
The Board of Awesomeness — or “Project Sk8” — can reach a top speed of 32 mph. After getting Kinect’s attention with some initial gestures and establishing a connection with the device, the driver pushes his hands forward (speed up) or pulls them back (slow down) to switch between three speeds, or to stop the board completely. Commercial power boards, like those built by TAMI or E-Glide, require the rider to use a wireless or tethered hand control.
The CML developers took perceived limitations of the Kinect system as a challenge. Their business is about producing innovation and strategy around mobile applications, but the firm invests a lot of resources in exploratory projects. The Board of Awesomeness arose from a desire to “show how we can make Kinect do everything it’s not supposed to do.”