On Your Phone While Driving An Electric Skateboard

Skateboards are fun, but you have to do all that pesky kicking in order to get anywhere. That’s why [Nick] decided to build his own electric skateboard. Not only is the skateboard powered with an electric motor, but the whole thing can be controlled from a smart phone.

[Nick] started out with a long board deck that he had made years ago. After cleaning it up and re-finishing it, the board was ready for some wheels. [Nick] used a kit he found online that came with the trucks, wheels, and a belt. The trucks have a motor mount welded in place already. [Nick] used a Turnigy SK3 192KV electric motor to drive the wheels. He also used a Turnigy electronic speed controller to make sure he could vary the speed of the board while riding.

Next [Nick] needed some interface between a smart phone and the motor controller. He chose to use an Arduino Nano hooked up to a Bluetooth module. The Nano was able to directly drive the motor controller, and the Bluetooth module made it easy to sync up to a mobile phone. The Android app was written using MIT’s App Inventor software. It allows for basic control over the motor speed so you can cruise in style. Check out the video below for a slide show and some demonstration clips.

It’s a popular project, and eerily similar to the one we saw a couple months back.

26 thoughts on “On Your Phone While Driving An Electric Skateboard

    1. A smart watch would be a great idea! I can imagine “pocket dialing” the board off into the main road… Walk out of the house, “Dude, where’s my board? And what’s with all the traffic?” 8^)

    1. I like the idea of a deck gas pedal, but i think the problem is balancing on the board, while requiring a certain amount of pressure on the pedal. I’ve seen a couple of projects that use an rc car remote. I think that’s rather clever.

      1. My idea of a gas pedal implementation would be to integrate 2 weight sensors in (near) the axles with some software (and a 555?) Lean forward to accelerate, backward for (regenerative) braking.

        “SimonK” seems to be one of the magic words for Brushless motor control. Not “arduino”, but good old fashioned asm for avr’s.

        1. No other hardware needed. Smartphones have a lot of them, simply use them.
          Improvement your APP.
          Use the accelerometre and the gyros of the smartphone to control the speed.
          Plus add an crash detection/shake that stop the skate if you drop the phone.
          This way, you do not have to look at the screen while cruising.

  1. I have wanted to do this with just a regular skateboard for a while now, but I still dunno how possible it is with the higher center of gravity and more narrow trucks might be hard to get a belt to drive the wheels. These EV longboards are pretty sweet tho, great job. Bonus for smartphone control, altho I second the idea of hacking it to be controlled with a smart watch.

  2. I just noticed how similar my project is to that one done a few months ago?! I actually took my inspiration from a different source which was a board posted on instructables.

    To summarise a few points that have been raised: a ‘deadmans’ switch on the app is an essential update I need to make or I will try to use a wireless Wii nunchuck as a controller. I am also planning on getting an ESC that supports battery regen and variable braking.
    Please do keep commenting either here or on my blog, it is really helpful so I can develop new features and work out bugs in the design!

    1. We’re not saying you copied that other project, just pointing out the popularity of the hack.

      It took me a while in editing to decide they were actually different. same color wheels, and the motor mounting plate is very similar but I think the motor is on different sides of the truck in the two projects. It would be interesting to really analyze the things done differently and see the impact of those choices.

      Great hack!

  3. Yay, driving at speed on a sidewalk *while staring at a cellphone*. Nothing wrong with that at all, right? People *walking* while texting or doing whatever with their phones and not paying attention where they are going are a sufficient nuissance already.

    That you can control something with a phone doesn’t mean you should – this gizmo needs a hand controller and some sort of dead man’s switch to be somewhat safe and to avoid being knocked off from it by the first cop you meet for endangering the public around you.

    Jeeze, people, don’t be total idiots …

    1. Lets assume, this is the POC Prouve of concept.
      He can also use the accelerometre and the gyros of the phone to control the speed without looking at the phone.
      But it is right, sidewalks are only for walking : no rolling device of anykind.

  4. This can be easily simplified by a cable that plugs into deck using a guitar 1/4 inch jack. to hand rehostat for throttle. all done, has a dead man switch built in if you spring load the rheostat.

    also it needs a lot more battery, hope he has plans to cover the entire underside of that board with batteries.

  5. Hey nice and smooth design. May I suggest some improvement for your APP ?
    Use the accelerometre and the gyros to control the speed.
    Plus add an crash detection/shake that stop the skate if you drop the phone.
    This way, you do not have to look at the screen while cruising.

  6. Phone control works really well – I’ve been working on one for a while. It’s all go except for the deadman. Nice to see that great minds think alike :-)

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