How Does Hover Boards Work?

How Does Hover Boards Work?

Last Updated on by Daniel Lawrence

Hoverboards haven’t been widely accepted, however, these tools can be very helpful. Since they come with self-balancing technology, there is less chance of tripping off. Read through this guide and see how they work.

What is a Hoverboard?

Hoverboards are popularly known as the skateboards of the future, a wheel-less device that was used by Matty McFly in Back to the future.

Hoverboards are two-wheeled, electric, portable devices that are also commonly known as self-balancing scooters. Originally, the term hoverboard referred to a levitating device made popular by 1980’s film culture.

Even though the Hoverboards in use today can’t “Hover”, they are very interesting when it comes to understanding the application of various sensors. They are also called Self-Balancing Scooters.

Not quite the stuff of Back to the Future, hoverboards, as they have come to be known, are the latest craze in self-propelled mobility. Typically, these devices function like powered skateboards and consist of a platform for the rider, situated between two wheels and powered by large lithium-ion batteries.

They include Accelerometer, The Wheels & Motors, The Battery Pack, Gyroscope and Magnetometer;

  • Accelerometer:

Measures Position in Linear 3 dimensions (Cartesian Coordinates) using variable capacitance. Here, we have capacitors for each dimension where one of the plates of the capacitor is kept constant and the other is allowed to vary its position (They are very sensitive to change in position). The change in distance between these plates will cause a change in capacitance and thereby, voltage, giving us a quantifiable value we can monitor and use where needed.

  • Gyroscope:

It’s the most important component, so much that the other name for this vehicle is ‘Gyro scooter’. Gyroscope basically measures Angular change by the shift of mass within the gyro. A mechanical gyroscope consists of concentric metal rims with a rotor at the center while an electronic gyroscope, which is used for most applications including this one, is a little different.

It uses Coriolis Effect: when a mass is moving in a particular direction with a particular velocity and when an external angular velocity is exerted whose axis is perpendicular to the motion, then a Coriolis force will occur which will be perpendicular to both, causing perpendicular displacement of the mass. This displacement will cause a change in the Capacitance and thereby, Voltage giving us a quantifiable value corresponding to a particular angular rate.

  • The Battery Pack

The powerhouse of your hoverboard. This is quite self-explanatory. Without it, you wouldn’t be able to ride your hoverboard.

Almost all hoverboards use lithium-ion batteries between 36V and 42V.

Lithium-ion batteries are often seen in electric rideable because they’re lightweight and have a high energy density, giving you more mileage per charge in a small package.

Hoverboards must be lightweight to get the best mileage and to climb slopes and terrain and whatnot.

Lithium-ion batteries also discharge much slower than other types of batteries. Even if you leave your hoverboard in the dust for months, you can come back to an almost fully charged hoverboard right away.

  • Magnetometer:

It measures the magnetic field concerning the earth’s magnetic field by using the Hall Effect principle. Although, we haven’t included this one in our list of components below to make your own Hoverboard.

  • The Wheels & Motors

Usually, a hoverboard has two motors. One in each wheel. This allows the two wheels to accelerate and move independently from one another at different speeds. If this wasn’t the case, you wouldn’t be able to turn. Imagine that for a boring ride…

Each wheel is geared with sensors that read the speed (rpm) and tilt at any given time while riding. This information is what gets sent on to the gyroscopes.

It may just look like a wheel, but there are actually a few technological things going on behind the scene.

Hoverboard Types

we need to understand a little about all types of hoverboards.

  • Medium-Wheel Hoverboards

This is probably the type that you’re most familiar with since you find these everywhere. The medium-wheel hoverboard is designed for quick travel and will get you where you’re going – barring If you’re going to be going over rough terrain.

These have extra features like music playback, Bluetooth, and even follow modes. They can power along at a reasonably fast speed and even work well on inclines.

  • Broad-Wheel Hoverboards (All-Terrain)

All-terrain models aren’t designed necessarily for commutes unless you’re going to be going over gravel or loose soil on your way to work. These have some of the features of standard models like music playback, but you’ll notice that the wheels are at least 10 inches in width, and they also have more grooves that enable them to go over uneven terrain.

  • Small-Wheel Hoverboards

Segway is one of the pioneers in mobility technology, and most of its products fall into this category. While they have standard hoverboards in their catalog of products, you’ll find that they also have multiple models that mimic the design of their original product.

This means that they have a single, central mid-shaft and two wheels. These are great for helping you maintain balance, and they also feel very sturdy to ride.

  • One-Wheel Hoverboards

This type of hoverboard is a bit rarer than the other types, but they work well for riders that are used to riding along on a skateboard or snowboard.

Unlike other types of hoverboards, these have a central wheel along the center of the device, and they can be easier to maneuver. When you need to turn, it’s relatively easy to shift your weight and turn, and you can lean forward to stop on a dime.

  • Individual Foot Hoverboards (Hovershoes)

Despite how the name might sound, overshoes aren’t worn like actual shoes. Instead, you rest your foot atop of their curved top surfaces and use each foot to steer and stop when needed.

Since each foot has its own wheel/balancing system, it’s elementary to do some awe-inspiring tricks with these hover devices. In fact, using these almost feels like using motorized skates.

Benefits Of Using Hoverboard/Self Balancing Scooters

  • Eco-friendly:

As stated above, these hoverboards run with a rechargeable battery and no need to use any oil like petrol, diesel, etc. In two different ways, these devices are very eco-friendly, First of all, they don’t release any poisonous gases as other vehicles do.

On the other side, we all know that all the nonrenewable sources are used high, but these scooters don’t need any of such resources they run with a rechargeable battery. So that using this smart device will not exhaust any nonrenewable source and even stop pollution too.

  • Affordable:

Even though there is plenty of benefits to this smart device, still the price is very affordable to everyone. Actually, when you compare the other vehicles like a car, motorcycle, and a standard quality bicycle it is extremely cost less. You do need to gather funds from banks or borrowers because the price is not so high.

  • No maintenance cost:

As these Boards don’t leave any harmful glasses to lead pollution so that you no need to check for leakage of liquids. The outer body of the self-balancing scooter is durable and will not get breakage because this scooter is constructed with solid material and stylish designs. This device manufactured with very little weight so that the user can carry it within his hands and can be parked anywhere because it doesn’t occupy more space. All the above factors help the users to save their money by using these stylish boards.

  • Easy to use:

The hoverboard is very simple and flexible to use.  Spending some quality of time is enough to ride the board, no need for any special training to have ridden with a hoverboard. There will be an instructions sheet along with the device in the package,  just follow the instructions and have a safe ride on an electric scooter. This device is designed with the feature of self-balancing, where anyone can have a ride on the board.

  • Convenient:

You can use these mini Segways anywhere to travel like going to work or college or gym, for visiting relatives, gathering with friends and any other place too. These affordable Segways will be the best choice for traveling compared to the car or another vehicle. Even these devices will help you save money on fuel costs even decreases your carbon footprint.

How does Hoverboard work?

Hoverboards are built in such a way that each of the wheels has its own Gyroscope, Tilt, and speed sensor. They are generally placed below the frame where the rider places the feet. Once the rider places the feet on the board, Gyroscope provides data to the logic board when the rider tilts ahead or backward.

When the rider is not tilting, the IR sensor, which is positioned below the Foot placement, gives data to the logic board to not move and not run the motor. This how they sense the pressure on the footpads and move these self-balancing scooters accordingly.

When tilted in a particular direction (ahead or backward, depending on the Hoverboard) to a defined angle, the data from the gyroscope is relayed to the logic board to run the motor which allows wheels to rotate and the rider moves ahead. More tilt will give you more speed.

Each wheel is compliant with its own gyroscope to make turns. For a left turn, the rider will move the right leg ahead, which will move only the right wheel, keeping the motor of the left wheel off and a left turn will be carried out. Similarly for a right turn, left feet should be moved ahead for the tilt. To move in circles, tilt anyone’s leg ahead. It is not very productive but it is fun J

IR Sensors are very common sensors that use Infrared rays to get the reflected data from the object to measure its presence and distance from the sensor which can be used for many applications.

The tilt and speed sensors measure the speed of the wheels in motion in rpm (Revolutions per minute) and send the data to the gyroscope and logic board to control the speed.

The Logic Board is like the Central Processing Unit of the Hover Board. This Logic board has Microprocessor as the main component. It sends and receives data from all sensors, sends the processed data with its logic to the motors for the required movement which provides continuous adjustments, giving you a balancing and centered vehicle. It also manages the power from the batteries and also takes care that it doesn’t burn out.

Battery packs are readily available and there are various choices available for this component but the most commonly used battery for this application is a 36V 4400mAH battery. You can also make your own battery pack using the battery of an old Laptop (Although, it is not recommended as you’ll need to handle it with utmost care!)


All types of hoverboards will provide hours of fun and will also add convenience to your daily life. Each works well in a variety of circumstances and has a good mixture of both range and speed.