We’re happy to report that the first month of 2016 has brought a ton of new goodies to the Inboard office. Each day has brought new coverage, new reviews, a new team member, and most importantly, new pre production components for the M1™. Each component that arrives brings us closer to shipping, so we’re extremely excited to dive into the details and get everyone up to speed.
One of the most eagerly awaited packages to arrive recently was a full box of Manta Drive™ pre-production motor samples! Aesthetically, the motors look sharp in black anodized aluminum. The external wire leads are protected in tight weave wire mesh and heat shrink wrap for extra durability. Internally the motor windings are significantly tighter and better packed than what we were able to achieve on prototypes, which make these the most efficient and powerful motors we’ve put under an M1 deck.
These are the first samples from our motor supplier and as such they arrived with the need for slight design and assembly revisions. The encoders were incorrectly placed and magnet positioning was slightly off. Luckily these are issues that Theo has been able to fix on the samples we have in hand, so they won’t interfere with the further testing and motor controller firmware development that needs to happen while our supplier creates and ships new samples.
Tony and Jared have covered a lot of ground with motor controller firmware development since the latest printed circuit board revision arrived at the beginning of the New Year. Jared has finished writing code for system management, LED control, smartphone integration and sensor access while Tony is writing the code that will directly control acceleration, deceleration, and extra power delivery for climbing hills and braking.
As we expected, the first round of ride testing with the new Manta Drive samples has shown an extremely significant increase in torque, thanks to firmware that now utilizes our in-wheel encoders. Over the next several weeks Tony and Jared will continue to tune the feel of the M1 as well as finish code that will enable over-the-air updates from the Vision™ Mobile App.
Last week the Inboard Engineering Team received a brand new dynamometer for Manta Drive and motor controller testing. This test fixture arrived late last Friday afternoon, so the team was only able to get as far as setting up the mechanics. The first dyno tests will begin this week.
The RFLX Remote™ has entered the final stages of testing, with Theo building out an automated test rig to allow us to figure out the average lifespan of the remote trigger. Since this trigger is crucial to riding the M1 and will be used continually throughout its lifespan, we want to ensure it works as well on the 100th ride as it does on the first ride.
In January, professional downhill longboarder and master of the switch stand up powerslide, Mr. Liam Morgan, became the first official Inboard Ambassador. In addition to Inboard, Liam rides for Arbor Skateboards, Caliber Trucks, Blood Orange Wheels and Daddies Boardshop. Liam's R&D input and laid back attitude is a huge addition to the Inboard Team, not to mention his strong drive to continue to create some of the best downhill videos on the web.
Speaking of videos, for his debut clip with Inboard, Liam linked up with Inboard filmmakers Nate Appel and Patrick Rebstock in Santa Cruz to create the clip above. Expect to see much more footage of Liam riding the M1 in his extensive travels near and far.
On the R&D front, Liam has been crucial in helping to develop and test each component and design iteration of the M1. His greatest contribution was in designing Inboard’s custom wheels. The Manta Drive’s urethane REV Lock™ wheel needed to be easily replaceable but also have the strength and security to handle the most intense conditions and fastest riders without failure. Liam put the REV Lock wheel to the test during downhill runs at speeds exceeding 60 mph! Beyond that, Liam worked with Theo to design and engineer Inboard’s “traditional” front wheels. The front wheels utilize a “speed core” that reduces overall wheel weight while also increasing performance.
At the end of January Inboard proudly supported the Hack UCSC Hackathon. With two University of California, Santa Cruz engineering grads already working at Inboard, we knew participating in Hack UCSC would be a great way to support the University and meet possible additions to the Inboard Engineering Team. For the hackathon, Inboard supplied a simple developer’s kit for the teams, who were then challenged to create a mobile app or product feature that utilized the dev kit sensors while used with a skateboard. Inboard had 5 teams, a total of 20 engineering students, compete for a full M1 package to be awarded in July, immediately following the fulfillment of all pre-orders.
The winning team was SCDrift, who created an awesome mobile app that gamified riding by analyzing speed and g-forces to create a point value for turns and slides on the board. Overall, Hack UCSC was a great experience for all involved and is an event that Inboard will be proud to sponsor in the future.
At the beginning of January Ryan, Leo, Chris and Nate set course for Las Vegas and the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the largest technology trade show in the world. Goals of the trip included hosting our first international dealer meeting, touching base with our motor supplier, and getting as much feedback on the M1 as possible from the broader tech community.
The feedback we received on the M1 prototypes we brought was nothing short of phenomenal! The Verge said, “The Inboard M1 looks like the best new electric skateboard on the block”, Digital Trends said, “Inboard’s M1 electric skateboard offers an unparalleled riding experience” and Hypebeast named the M1 as one of the top 10 coolest gadgets at CES 2016. Check out the full roundup of CES 2016 coverage here.
Mobile World Congress
Early in January the Inboard M1 was chosen as one of the top five finalist solutions in the mobility category for the 4th Annual IOT / M2M Innovation World Cup, being held in Barcelona next to one of the largest tech conferences in Europe: The Mobile World Conference. Inboard CEO Ryan Evans will fly to Europe to present Inboard and the M1 at this prestigious event in an effort to grab top honors. He’ll also be meeting with key distributors and potential partners while in Spain.
In regards to the production timeline we outlined in our last production update, we are still on track to deliver the first batch of M1 Electric Skateboards in Spring of this year. Over the next several weeks as we work through firmware development and receive final revisions of the Manta Drive and other components, we’ll be preparing to clear pre-certification from our third-party compliance testing lab. This step will ensure the M1 meets FCC, CE, UL and KCC product requirements.
As always, if you have any questions, comments, thoughts, or concerns, feel free to leave a comment or drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We can't wait to ride with you soon!
The Inboard Team