Crazy motorized skates cut walking time in half | Cult of Mac

Crazy motorized skates cut walking time in half


Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
These motorized skates cut walking time in half. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

LAS VEGAS — For eight years, Paul Chavand been working hard to bring the world a pair of motorized skates. Why? To revolutionize the simple act of walking. Chavand’s dream is turn a simple stroll into an effortless glide on motorized wheels.


But don’t call them skates. Chavand, a mathematics teacher from France’s Burgundy region, gets rather upset at that. Skates imply imbalance, falling over and wildly flailing arms. Chavand’s Rollkers require no “skating.” You just stand still and the motorized wheels zip you along. Balancing is as simple as standing up, the inventor says.

So instead of “skates,” he calls his invention, rather comically, “under shoes.”

The big question is why you’d want them.


Reminiscent of electronic skateboards, Chavand’s Rollkers strap to your shoes and you just stand there. You don’t skate, so there are no balance issues. Chavand says Rollkers can handle rough roads and, in a video playing here at the International CES trade show, a wearer can be seen climbing stairs.

Chavand says Rollkers cut walking time in half. He thinks anyone who has to walk will benefit from his invention.

“The target is everybody,” he said in a thick French accent. “Everybody who has to walk a long distance. People who have to walk to the train. Thirty of forty minutes. Now the time is twenty minutes.”

I wasn’t convinced. Rollkers are bulky and slow.  If they were fast and dangerous, they’d be much more fun, and I could see them taking off. But at six or seven miles an hour, they are a next-generation Segway. Something embarrassing to be seen on.

The battery lasts an hour to 90 minutes, and is regenerative. Chavand played down how much of an effect regenerative charging would have on battery life.

Chavand is aiming for a price of 200 euros — if Rollkers ever go into production. Chavand admitted the initial cost would likely be twice that. He is looking for manufacturing partners. He doesn’t have a launch date.

I told him to “get your skates on,” but he didn’t get the joke.


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