The Surfbal is a compact personal transporter that can move in any given direction. It’s name is a mix between ‘Surfing’ and ‘Balance’ or ‘Ball’.
The Surfbal gets its inspiration from self balancing vehicles like the Segway. It’s riding style takes ist cue from Surfers / Snowboarders and Skateboarders. The base of the unit is a ‘Sphere’ that looks like an exercise ball.
How it works
This sphere is powered by an electric omnimotor that can makes it spin in any direction. The omnimotor is a drive and steering unit composed of two electric motors attached together. The first motor ‘The Drive’ is connected by a bevel gear to a rubber wheel (like the ones you find on inline skates) This wheel rubs on the sphere and makes it spin around. The second motor is the ‘The Steering’ and it serves the purpose of pivoting the drive around to change the spinning direction of the Surfbal. The whole omnimotor assembly is aligned with the sphere’s center.
To ride the unit, you place your feet on the platform and keep your center of gravity ‘approximately’ in line with the Sphere’s center. If you lean in any direction, the Surfbal will compensate by rolling in the direction you are leaning. Keeping your balance should be fairly easy since the control module will be able to make corrections each fractions of a second. I planned 3 omnimotors (steering and drive) units to make sure the vehicle has enough power and grip .
The main concept idea is to keep a ball balanced and by using a system to roll it in various directions and at different speeds.
What it’s used for
Of course this concept is purely for fun, it’s not designed as a mode of transportation, it’s mostly to ‘surf around’. The types of components like the sphere, motors, transmission, steering, materials and the layout will need to be tested & developed. A sit-down model could also be cool. I hope you will like the Surfbal and that it will give you some ideas of your own!
The Surfbal concept was developed in collaboration with Edgar Modesto an Industrial Designer from Chihuahua, Mexico. Edgar graduated in industrial design from the University Iberoamericana. He currently works as a designer for The Tecnológico de Monterrey. He also created the concept of the White Rabbit snowmobile and the Motobaggan.