Industrial Design Meets Crowdfunding
It took five years and 30 different prototypes to come up with the final product, but spnKiX started out as a project on the crowdfunding website, Kickstarter. Inventor and designer Peter Treadway (and yes, that's his real name) has two degrees in industrial design and is co-founder of an industrial design consultancy firm.
He launched the project on Kickstarter with the goal of raising $25,000 to fund the initial production of the skates. By the end of the campaign over $120,000 was raised from 300 backers. Not bad for motorized skates you strap to your feet.
Although the skates look like they were made for some sort of rollerskate-parkour hybrid tricks, the spnKiX website clearly says the skates are just for recreational riding and not freestyle endeavors. We seriously doubt owners will be able to resist though. As for their off-road capability: there isn't any. They can, however, do well on wet pavement and a little rain shower.
To own a pair of the skates it's going to set you back a few...a few Benjamins, that is. The motorized skates cost $649 [source: spnKiX]. Yikes! If you want a few extra battery packs to switch out on your daily stroll, expect to pay even more.
Yes, they're a bit pricey, but new technology usually is. If spnKiX sticks around for a while, battery technology will continue to get better and cheaper. Who knows, these skates may take off and be the next best thing to a hoverboard.