Design Engineering

Canadian single-wheel electric skateboard shreds Kickstarter campaign

Calgary engineer’s self-balancing OneWheel skateboard pulls in $600k+ in crowd-sourced funding.

February 12, 2014   Mike McLeod

14-Feb-onewheel-Doerksen-kickstarter-625Proving once again that mechanical engineering is the coolest profession, a single-wheel electric skateboard invented by Calgary native and mechanical engineer, Kyle Doerksen, recently blew past its crowd-funding goal of $100,000 on Kickstarter. The now closed campaign, floated by the OneWheel’s makers Palo Alto-based Forward Motion, garnered more than 1,000 backers and raised more than $630,000.

Unlike a conventional skateboard, the 25-lbs OneWheel is all-electric and has one central 11-inch gokart tire driven by a 500W brushless DC motor in the hub that can propel riders up to 20 kph.

In addition, the OneWheel is self-balancing. MEMS gyros and accelerometers with 6 DOF provide Segway-style control; riders lean on their leading foot to go forward or tilt backward to stop while regenerative breaking helps keep the battery charged. Turning on the OneWheel is similar to a snow board or surfing.

With the new funding, the company has recently released a companion iPhone app to let riders record speed, distance and other metrics as well as connect with other riders. Future Motion says it will be finalizing the engineering and ramping up production of the OneWheel over the next few months with delivery to begin around the first of September.


Before founding Future Motion, the Onewheel’s inventor and chief engineer, Kyle Doerksen, spent eight years at IDEO designing consumer and technical products and holds multiple engineering degrees from Stanford. He also helped found Faraday Bikes, an electric bicycle startup in San Francisco CA.

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