Electric LED Surfboards?

Bikes, trikes, personal mobility and getting to/from the event - this is the place to discuss general transportation issues.
Funkfish
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Electric LED Surfboards?

Postby Funkfish » Fri Sep 11, 2015 9:36 pm

Hi all, just had an amazing 4th Burn this year despite a bit of dust and cold.

I had a question, I keep seeing people riding these custom LED Electric longboards on the playa. They're obviously very custom I'm just curious how they went about making them. Does anyone know the person behind these? Here's a picture

Image

Jclarkcom
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Re: Electric LED Surfboards?

Postby Jclarkcom » Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:34 pm

Your post is 2 years old now, so I won't go into detail here - but I know these guys, contact me if you are still around. Looks like the photo is from 2013, the boards get upgraded every year. They are built by a small group of guys (who include myself) as a hobby project specifically for BM. There aren't any public details on how to make the boards - but we put a lot of the source code on github.

Jonathan

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spacetime
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Re: Electric LED Surfboards?

Postby spacetime » Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:08 pm

Those look totally awesome. If you have other photos or a description of these things you've built I'd love to learn more about them.

Jclarkcom
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Re: Electric LED Surfboards?

Postby Jclarkcom » Wed Sep 13, 2017 11:01 pm

Here are some images from BM2017:

Image
Image
Image

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spacetime
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Re: Electric LED Surfboards?

Postby spacetime » Thu Sep 14, 2017 7:45 am

What transparent and durable material do you cover the LED strips with, and how do you secure it to the surfboards?

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Jackass
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Re: Electric LED Surfboards?

Postby Jackass » Thu Sep 14, 2017 9:08 am

Do you make those specifically for your PnP clientele?
Sooner or later, it will get real strange...

11th Principle: Depussyfication - Keeping Burning Man potentially lethal. Token

maladroit
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Re: Electric LED Surfboards?

Postby maladroit » Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:01 am

DISTRIKT had a bunch of them. I saw a young man get nearly shouted off one of the surfboards for zooming too fast down the street, what seemed like a 12 foot tall angry man was screaming at him "GET THE FUCK BACK HERE AND LISTEN TO ME YOU CAN'T GO THAT FAST" etc. Then a much more low-key woman gave an equally devastating "we're all friends here, don't get carried away by music and go too fast honey" speech.

Jclarkcom
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Re: Electric LED Surfboards?

Postby Jclarkcom » Fri Sep 15, 2017 9:24 am

spacetime wrote:What transparent and durable material do you cover the LED strips with, and how do you secure it to the surfboards?


This year we worked with a surfboard shop in Santa Cruz to cover the boards with semi-transparent fiberglass. Previously this shop had made real surfboards with LEDs in them. We also covered the board surface with crushed glass to provide better grip. One problem that the glass also did a wonderful job of gripping playa dust as well, so we had to frequently and vigorously sweep them so that you could see the LEDs. The fiberglass does a great job of spreading the load so that you don't crush the LEDs when you stand on them.

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spacetime
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Re: Electric LED Surfboards?

Postby spacetime » Fri Sep 15, 2017 10:28 am

Jclarkcom wrote:
spacetime wrote:What transparent and durable material do you cover the LED strips with, and how do you secure it to the surfboards?


This year we worked with a surfboard shop in Santa Cruz to cover the boards with semi-transparent fiberglass. Previously this shop had made real surfboards with LEDs in them. We also covered the board surface with crushed glass to provide better grip. One problem that the glass also did a wonderful job of gripping playa dust as well, so we had to frequently and vigorously sweep them so that you could see the LEDs. The fiberglass does a great job of spreading the load so that you don't crush the LEDs when you stand on them.

Hey, thanks for that info.

That's interesting. For real surfboards with LEDs embedded in them, where and how do they package rechargeable (?) batteries, control switches and microcontrollers for the waves?

How much custom work goes into the locomotion portions of this, for example handling the steering, speed settings, braking etc?

Jclarkcom
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Re: Electric LED Surfboards?

Postby Jclarkcom » Fri Sep 15, 2017 10:48 am

maladroit wrote:DISTRIKT had a bunch of them. I saw a young man get nearly shouted off one of the surfboards for zooming too fast down the street, what seemed like a 12 foot tall angry man was screaming at him "GET THE FUCK BACK HERE AND LISTEN TO ME YOU CAN'T GO THAT FAST" etc. Then a much more low-key woman gave an equally devastating "we're all friends here, don't get carried away by music and go too fast honey" speech.


Sorry to hear about that. People definitely shouldn't be going fast, especially on crowded street. I'm always careful about this, but will have a word with others.

Jclarkcom
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Re: Electric LED Surfboards?

Postby Jclarkcom » Fri Sep 15, 2017 11:49 am

spacetime wrote:
Jclarkcom wrote:
spacetime wrote:What transparent and durable material do you cover the LED strips with, and how do you secure it to the surfboards?


This year we worked with a surfboard shop in Santa Cruz to cover the boards with semi-transparent fiberglass. Previously this shop had made real surfboards with LEDs in them. We also covered the board surface with crushed glass to provide better grip. One problem that the glass also did a wonderful job of gripping playa dust as well, so we had to frequently and vigorously sweep them so that you could see the LEDs. The fiberglass does a great job of spreading the load so that you don't crush the LEDs when you stand on them.

Hey, thanks for that info.

That's interesting. For real surfboards with LEDs embedded in them, where and how do they package rechargeable (?) batteries, control switches and microcontrollers for the waves?


Sorry, I don't know the details on the real surfboards, I think they only made 1 and not sure how the waterproofed it. Seems like it would be pretty cool at night.

> How much custom work goes into the locomotion portions of this, for example handling the steering, speed settings, braking etc?

We use a lot of parts from off the shelf electric skateboards from China, but there is a bit of work on speed, braking, battery monitoring, etc. Battery estimation turns out to be a pretty hard problem, we are using some chips designed for laptops to do this that use a machine learning process to try to estimate battery availability. If your battery runs out unexpectedly you can get thrown off fairly violently and we've had some injuries from this.

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spacetime
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Re: Electric LED Surfboards?

Postby spacetime » Fri Sep 15, 2017 11:55 am

Jclarkcom wrote:We use a lot of parts from off the shelf electric skateboards from China, but there is a bit of work on speed, braking, battery monitoring, etc. Battery estimation turns out to be a pretty hard problem, we are using some chips designed for laptops to do this that use a machine learning process to try to estimate battery availability. If your battery runs out unexpectedly you can get thrown off fairly violently and we've had some injuries from this.

Interesting stuff. Sound like some pretty serious custom jobs.

There's some snark here about these being for plug and play type folks. And with good reason there is concern in the BM community about the impact of plug and play camps.

At the same time, you have someone from the Robot Heart camp complaining about not getting the right color of eBike they bought from an "on-playa e-bike vendor" and somehow a contingent of folks suggesting their concern is well founded.

These surfboards can not be cheap to build, but regardless of cost do you have any thoughts or input on the people they are made for? It seems, perhaps, unfair to characterize the riders as plug and play guests.

I mean, someone spent big money to build that awful pyramid this year with a lot of money and I don't think anyone is asking how they camped.

But I think since these are so "out of reach" for "normal" burning many attendees, it might be helpful to get your perspective on how furnishing highly customized, obviously awesome, products like this fits in to 2017 Burning Man culture and the 10 principals.

I think most folks would be totally okay if these were outed as, "we built these for ourselves." or "This is our art and we love learning about this stuff and to fund it we make a few available to our backers" or something like this. But there is a tendency with fancy and exclusive things, I think, to assume the worst.

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Token
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Re: Electric LED Surfboards?

Postby Token » Fri Sep 15, 2017 12:28 pm

Oh Spacetime, you should have seen the place during the dotcom boom years with the instant millionaire cadre tossing vast dick-swagger in the dust.

It was ... beautiful!

legionvr6
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Re: Electric LED Surfboards?

Postby legionvr6 » Fri Sep 15, 2017 12:42 pm

I had the joy of a 2 block ride as a passenger till it broke down due to the heat. One of the district guys wanted to thank me for a bottle of tonic water hahahaha
Gin and tonic!!!! It's heaven in a glass!!!!


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