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From the looks of it, with this fictional tech, the power system is less important than the suspension. It’s not all that difficult to supply a lot of power to the wheels of a skate, but making doing it in a way where you have a hope of actually staying up takes some smart, exotic engineering. I suspect Stephenson is right in “Snow Crash”, where nothing like this actually uses smooth, circular wheels, but instead has “smartwheels” consisting of lots of rubber feet on the end of individually controlled telescoping spokes.
cool. so whats that mean?
I’m talking about RadiKS smartwheels – to quote from page 28 of Snowcrash:

Buy a set of RadiKS Mark II Smartwheels—it's cheaper than a total face retread and a lot more fun. Smartwheels use sonar, laser rangefinding, and millimeter-wave radar to identify mufflers and other debris before you even get honed about them... Each one consists of a hub with many stout spokes. Each spoke telescopes in five sections. On the end is a squat foot, rubber tread on the bottom, swiveling on a ball joint. As the wheels roll, the feet plant themselves one at a time, almost glomming into one continuous tire. If you surf over a bump, the spokes retract to pass over it. If you surf over a chuckhole, the robo-prongs plumb its asphalty depths. Either way, the shock is thereby absorbed, no thuds, smacks, vibrations, or clunks will make their way into the plank or the Converse high-tops with which you tread it. The ad was right—you cannot be a professional road surfer without smartwheels.

They exist at present only in the minds of cyberpunk writers and readers, though something vaguely like them, Michlin’s experimental Tweel (picture and some comparison to smartweels here), have been run on cars and Segway scooters (see this youtube video http://youtube.com/watch?v=v7gANJWRWIs).

 

Skateboards like YT’s in the Snowcrash universe didn’t have motors at all, relying on gravity and snagging pulls from cars and trucks via ordinary hand grabs and fancy cable and magnet “’poons”. Their ability to skate smoothly over almost anything is key to how well they could get around.

 

Later in the story, main character Hiro Protagonist gets a super-all-terrain motorcycle with motorcycle-sized smartwheels (which becomes nearly unridable when it’s computer control system suffers a fatal infection and crash).

 

Given the age (published 1992) and cult fame of Snowcrash, I’m surprised I couldn’t find an artist’s rendering of smartwheels online. Perhaps the long awaited comic and anime or live-action movie versions (a movie was optioned by Touchstone many years ago, but rumor has it the cost of all the needed special effects has prevented it from getting past screenplay and scripting) of Snowcrash will appear someday, but for now, the only way to experience the mind-blowing trip that is Snowcrash is to read the book.

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  • 5 years later...

Ok so I have just started watching this anime called air gear and its is based around a group trying to make a name for themselves in the world of air trecks. Air trecks are the reason why i am asking this but I was wondering hey could it actually be possible to make this. Now I know that safety will be tough with this and I'm not expecting something to match the same spead jus maybe go like 10 mph for the lowest and 20 mph for the highest. If anyone has like a base idea of how to make this along with a glove that you could sync to the skates to balance out the spead that would be great. Also please serious answers only.

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Ok so I have just started watching this anime called air gear and its is based around a group trying to make a name for themselves in the world of air trecks. Air trecks are the reason why i am asking this but I was wondering hey could it actually be possible to make this. Now I know that safety will be tough with this and I'm not expecting something to match the same spead jus maybe go like 10 mph for the lowest and 20 mph for the highest. If anyone has like a base idea of how to make this along with a glove that you could sync to the skates to balance out the spead that would be great. Also please serious answers only.
It would help greatly 1.if you were to be specific about what an airtrek is, and 2. provided a pic or two.

Some links to threads discussing exactly what you're asking.

http://www.mangaupda...id=1623&page=61

http://www.sciencefo...531-air-trecks/

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Welcome to hypography, TechG33k! :) Please feel free to start a topic in the introductions forum to tell us something about yourself.

 

Ok so I have just started watching this anime called air gear and its is based around a group trying to make a name for themselves in the world of air trecks. Air trecks are the reason why i am asking this but I was wondering hey could it actually be possible to make this.

I moved your post to this 2008 thread, because it's exactly the same subject.

 

In short, like much anime, the physics in Air Gear is mostly fantasy - skating up building faces, jumping tens of feet into the air and landing, etc. This has nothing to do with the engineering of motorized roller skates - human bodied - legs, knees, spines, etc - just can't do this.

 

In terms of serious engineering how to make something looking pretty much like a pair of rollerblades that can let you go uphill at 20 m/s (45 MPH) hits some pretty hard real physics problems.

 

As I mentioned in this post, you've got to have pretty powerful motors, but not more than exists in present day cordless drills. Fitting the motors, transmissions, and batteries for this into nice looking footwear, as it appears in Air Gear, isn't possible, but something that you could still lift your feet enough to actually use, shifting batteries and other heavy stuff to your back or waist, seems doable.

 

The anime plays vague and and loose about how its skates motors are controlled. In the real world, I'd expect you'd want something handheld, pretty much like a drill or RC car controller trigger. The system would need to have lots of cords and harness, not just footwear.

 

The real killer, as I see it, is suspension and balance. Without really good shock-absorbing systems, moving much faster than normal on skates would wreck - injure - your feet, ankles, knees, and other body parts. Without stability systems, you'd fall a lot, as real world people who race downhill on rollerblades do.

 

My guess is you'd need to stabilize your body - at it's center of gravity, around your wait, not down at your feet - with some pretty powerful gyroscopes.

 

What all this comes to in my mind is a pretty big backpack and belt unit, with lots or harness to your shoulders and hips. Exoskeleton legs seem a good idea, as they'd increase the effective travel of the suspension system, making its engineering easier. Sensors and computer controls seem a necessity.

 

With all this, and the serious safety clothing described in Snow Crash, some of the stuff from Air Gear might be doable. Some of the stuff in it, which is more or less fying, is just flatly impossible, unless you somehow including some sort of wearable aircraft in the system, which is a whole 'nother engineering question.

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