Jet-powered Star Wars speeder bike built from repurposed hoverboard
Developing your skill set is all about pushing the boundaries of your current knowledge and experience, but that inevitably leads to occasional failure. When that happens, you need to know how to pivot and complete the project. A great example of that is James Bruton’s Star Wars speeder bike built from a repurposed hoverboard.
Bruton started this project with the idea of taking the electronics and motors from a hoverboard and reconfiguring them to create a self-balancing bike. His intention was to control the movement by shifting his weight and by tilting the back half of the bike relative to the front half, so the hoverboard electronics would act just like they normally would. But that proved to be very difficult to ride, so Bruton had to pivot to a new control method that would give him better maneuverability.
To save the project, Bruton turned to an Arduino UNO Rev3. It monitors the rotation angle and tilt angle of the handlebars using potentiometers, then uses servo motors to tilt the hoverboard controller boards accordingly. As far as the hoverboard electronics know, this is just the movement of the rider shifting their weight or moving their feet. This causes the bike to roll side-to-side or rotate in place through input through the handlebars.
The bike rides on omni wheels, so Bruton also needed a way to move forwards. He chose to use hobby jet thrusters that are also under the control of the Arduino, with a throttle turning a third potentiometer. Those thrusters don’t have quite enough force for the job, so Bruton needs a push to get started. But they do let him continue on once he’s moving.