LAS VEGAS—Is this the future of personal transportation? I was both enthralled and terrified using Jetson's Motokick hover shoes to zoom along a hotel hallway here at CES.
Available later this spring for around $299, Jetson's Motokicks fit under each of your feet and, by tilting forward or back, will propel you in either direction. Ok, so they don't really "hover," but neither did hoverboards, and we're still calling them that.
Basically, the company took a hover board and split it in half. Each Motokick has a small wheel powered by a motor, and, using gyroscopes and some intelligence, can balance itself and knows to drive in forward or reverse. And boy do they move. The company said that the Motokicks could reach speeds of up to 7-8 miles per hour, which is about twice as fast as someone walking at a good clip.
The top of each of the Motokicks has a rubber tread, but there's no strap keeping your feet in place. Which is a good thing, because these things have a bit of a learning curve. The first few minutes I spent on the Motokicks, my legs and feet wobbled back and forth as I struggled to keep my balance. Also, because the two Motokicks aren't physically connected to each other, it's pretty easy to do an accidental split as one shoe goes one way, and the other goes in the opposite direction.
Each Motokick has LED lights in the front and back; the company said that the final version will let you synchronize the light color and patterns to music you play on your smartphone. The battery in each Motokick should last up to three hours with normal use.
Jetson's hovershoes aren't the only ones of its kind kicking around; Inmotion recently announced its Hovershoes X1 ($579), which do pretty much the same thing.
Once I got the hang of the Motokicks, I found it fairly easy to ride up and down a hallway, and even make pretty sharp turns. But more practice is definitely needed. Feeling pretty cocky, I decided to jump off the Motokicks, but ended up taking a tumble. Maybe I'll stick to walking for now.