Distance Sensors on bottom

  • Placing one ultrasonic sensor on the bottom of the tip and tail so that it can measure the distance of each from the ground. When going up hill, it could use this to determine that you are in fact on an incline and it could adjust the angle accordingly. It could also be a useful anti-nosedive tool instead of the sudden "thrust" the new firmware applies when it "thinks" you are pressing too hard.

    Just a bit more intelligence to improve the ride.

  • It would be really weird if the board was keeping level with the ground rather than with the horizon :P

  • Self-balancing only works if the board is level with the horizon, unfortunately. Otherwise you'd be stressing the motor by putting too much weight on the back end when it's trying to pull you up a hill.

  • @thegreck
    Self balancing can work at any reasonable angle. They have a "elevated" shaping that does exactly that: keeps the nose up. You just have to have a different stance to keep your weight above the wheel.

  • Ultrasonic sensors are kinda bulky, but you'd only need one in either the tip or tail, since the neutral height is already known. The control box has lots of room inside so the front is where I'd put it. Then you'd just have like an averaging function so it doesn't freak out when you go over a curb or run over a root. After 1 or 2 seconds of going down a hill, the board would slowly tilt toward parallel. The "elevated" shaping already does this when you change direction. At first the "front" of the board is tipped down, but after a few seconds it gently rises. Change direction and the process repeats. It's smooth enough that it doesn't throw me off.

  • I don't understand how knowing the distance to the ground could be a "useful anti nosedive tool"...

  • @lirou Ya, there is only one anti-nosedive tool: the motor, and it needs surplus power in order to work.

  • @desperado The angle of the board in elevated mode is kind of like the recline position of an airplane seat, it's barely different than level. And that position stays the same regardless of the angle of the terrain. If the board were to stay parallel to the ground itself when going uphill, it would be tough as hell to stay over the wheel, and very awkward.

  • @thegreck People ride skateboards on steep hills, and seem to keep their weight centered OK. It might just be a personal preference which is the point. OW can't really handle super steep slopes anyway, so we'd just be talking about something similar to Elevated shaping but automatic. Also, not sure what Elevated does if you're going downhill. Does it reverse?

  • You wouldn't need any additional sensors actually. Based purely on the motor load, speed, and acceleration, you can tell if you are on a slope, e.g. if OW is using regeneration to maintain a constant speed, you're obviously going downhill. Maybe you then enter your weight into the app, so the algorithm can guess the slope more accurately.

  • @desperado Skaters keep their weight forward when going downhill (see photo). Keeping it directly above the wheel when going downhill or uphill would be a very different stance if the board followed the slope of the terrain. Going downhill you'd basically be standing upright while the board was tilted down, instead of leaning forward which would feel more natural.


  • @thegreck I didn't realize that about skaters and the weight center.
    I thought you were referring just to the angle of the board being awkward, because your ankles will be twisted sideways and one leg would have to be bent more than the other, and I don't think it would be a big deal. Personally, I think I would feel more in danger of slipping off if the board wasn't level, but if someone wanted the feature, I'm sure they could learn to use it. I do find it annoying going uphill that the nose is quite close to the ground so I have less ground clearance. And when going downhill, the tail scrapes the ground if you brake very hard at all. I'd be curious to try it if they make it an option.

  • @desperado I agree 100%. Unfortunately the physics of self-balancing are against us on this one. Maybe the engineers can figure out a way to make it work somehow, though.

  • This was conceived because I live in a hilly region in VA. I have to go slow up hills not due to power, but because my nose digs in. A little carve and the nose is touching the pavement. Sensors to help average the distance could help calculate incline, just as indicated above. When you ride a snowboard or a skateboard, you aren't riding level despite the terrain - you are riding parallel to whatever terrain you are on. That's the goal here.

    You don't have to be level to self balance. You just have to establish what angle the board is balancing to - 180 degrees, 160 degrees, etc.

  • @xr4ti Try the elevated mode. Probably will give a better ride, at least uphill - might be suicidal downhill - I don't know because we don't have hills here.

  • @ow-miami Hey man! Thanks for the suggestion. You are right though - while it is great going up, I drag tail all the way down.

  • I don't think the sensors are necessary either. But I do agree the board should remain more or less parallel to the ground, as in every other board sport.
    Haven't received my board yet, so take this all with a grain of salt. Just watching videos it's quite obvious the board staying horizontal is what limits the OW ability to handle steepish ups and downs. It's particularly obvious in skate park videos for example. Typically nose will hit the ground uphill and tail will scrape downhill. FM acknowledged it introducing elevated mode, however it's a half-baked solution: you loose in tail clearance downhill what you've gained in nose clearance uphill.
    I don't believe the current behavior feels natural either: a horizontal board on a uphill shouldn't be decelerating (unless there's no more power available). On the contrary, a horizontal board going downhill should be decelerating (or trying to).

  • @djinn

    Don’t knock it until you try it. Chances are you’ll be happy and not mind the level board

  • @skyman88 I might be, but i doubt it. :)
    Here's my proposal: just like leaning backward reduces speed, when the speed reduces on its own (because board is gaining potential energy ―uphill section, not because of motor action) the board should tilt backward. That would be some sort of auto-elevated mode, if you wish, triggering only when it's needed.
    Similarly, just like leaning forward augments speed, when the board accelerate because it's spending potential energy (downhill section) it should tilt frontward.
    Altogether this would augment nose/tail clearance only when it makes sense, leaving more room for user-control tilting.
    It seems you don't like this idea. Why is that?

    EDIT: Fixed potential energy.

  • @djinn

    So the board is not perfectly level in all modes except maybe Delirium, but definitely as level as you may be thinking.

    This board does not rely on gravity... in physics terms, draw the free body diagram for going down hill with a single wheel in the middle and the board. The motor would be working harder because the riders CoG is no longer over the wheel/motor. The same is true for going up a hill.

    So if the motor has X amount of power, the slope is just a factor in how hard he board needs to work. That’s why a peak speed you hit on flat ground isn’t possible going up hill.

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