LAS VEGAS — Ever use one of those moving walkways at the airport and think, "Why can't these be everywhere?" That's exactly what went through the mind of Paul Chavand, inventor of the Rollkers, a kind of Segway-meets-rollerskate.
Still in prototype phase — the company hopes to have a finished product by 2016 — the Rollkers use a series of wheels and a controller to whisk a wearer along at speeds of up to 7 miles per hour, all while walking with a normal gait. That's about twice as fast as a normal walking speed, provided you're not from New York.
The Rollkers' rechargeable battery is rated to last an hour, and supposedly conserves energy using regenerative braking; that is, the act of slowing down will send a charge back to the batteries. However, battery life is also dependent on whether you're going uphill, downhill or just gliding along on a level surface.
While they look ungainly, Rollkers reps said that the wheels could fit any shoe size, and that there was no training needed. Just strap them on and go for a stroll. There's no word on how much they’ll cost when — or if — they eventually make it to market, but this invention could certainly revolutionize the speed-walking set, just like the Segway did for personal transportation.