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A ‘post modern skateboard’ that ditches the board

March 25, 2015

If Marty McFly had a transportation upgrade between his skateboard and his hoverboard, it might look something like this.

The Sidewinding Circular Skates consist of a pair of 10-inch rubber wheels with foot platforms. Apart from riding with a sideways stance, the gadget appears to be a futuristic take on roller skates.

Rather than pushing off the ground like a traditional skateboard or skates, the user gains momentum from a Segway-like propulsion by leaning side to side. Braking is achieved by touching one's toes to the ground.

An extendable rod can be attached to offer the rider training wheels of sort.

While the Hammacher Schlemmer online catalog is selling the $100 product as "Sidewinding Circular Skates," other tech sites have taken off with the term, "Post Modern Skateboard."

More than a skateboard, though, the contraption might resemble the Heelys from the 2000s. The sneakers that converted into roller skates at the lift of a sole got a bad rap for their hazards to children, which may have cut the craze short.

The Sidewinding Circular Skates' design gives skaters as much mobility as the expert skateboarder. Independent wheels allow the skater to coast in a weaving motion and spin 720 degrees.

The product comes from China and Hammacher Schlemmer and does not have a manual yet — so we'll have to take a cue from the demonstration video on how it's used.

And, although the skates can ride over dirt and short grass, it may be best to avoid McFly-style skitching.

Emma Bowman is an intern with NPR Digital News.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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