Hoverboards were all the rage when they came out a few years ago, and with a pair of wheel/motors powerful enough to transport a rider, they were very popular hacking targets as well. You’ve probably never seen hoverboard wheels used in quite the same manner as Felix von Drigalski’s RC HoverBot, however. Not only is the HoverBot capable of balancing its small wooden body upright with a human at the controls, but it can perform tricks when taken to a skatepark, including grinding with the bottom surface, and landing the maneuver upright at around 0:50 in the demo video below.
Build-wise, the device takes input from an RC transmitter/receiver, which passes along commands to an Arduino Mega. This, with input from a Bosch BNO055 IMU, are used to calculate outputs to an ODrive motor controller that drives the hoverboard hub motors in current control mode.
While Hall effect sensors on the wheels loop back into the ODrive to help control which phase is powered, the HoverBot doesn’t feature any velocity feedback, meaning if it goes too fast the controller can’t ensure that it will stay upright, and will fall over eventually. The operator therefore needs to be alert when the device is in action, but that appears to add to the fun. Code and build info are available on GitHub if you’d like to construct your own!