Thursday 7th December 2023

I've talked about OneWheels and FutureMotion and whatever before. I can't immediately prove that, since it's trapped in a database near a WordPress Virus that WordPress let into WordPress because WordPress is bad; but the point is that this isn't a new issue.
The issue is that, while OneWheels are [mostly] good, the company making them are a little concerning. For whatever reason. Whether they're evil or incompetent or somehow misunderstood or whatever.
The point in bringing this up at the moment is that this happened a few minutes ago:

Imagining that there might be those who have no idea what's happening here, despite the explanation within the post, here's the quick explanation....
Upwards of twenty years ago, a guy in England—Ben Smither—invented this monopod thing—a sorta selfbalancing skateboard with one wheel. That's not important to the modern story; because....
Around ten years ago, a guy from Canada—not Ben Smither—who'd moved to America registered a patent or fifty on fundamentally the same thing that Smither had designed; and he started up FutureMotion to produce the brandnamed OneWheel.
So, now, it's all CurrentYear and FutureMotion make OneWheels and that's pretty much where we are.
One of the issues with FutureMotion making OneWheels is that they also make a lot of empirically bad decisions. Every new model of OneWheel they release is yet more boobytrapped to prevent You the Owner of the OneWheel You Bought from doing anything to it. The whole Right to Repair thing that other companies are learning to concede about. FutureMotion keep going the other way on the issue, making their products increasingly difficult and dangerous to maintain by the enduser. In the case of the OneWheel GT [which is and isn't the latest model, depending whether we call the GTS a reskinning of the formfactor], You the Owner of Your Board can brick the thing by disconnecting the battery cable. Something you could end up doing if the battery were to wear out, as batteries do; something you could do accidentally by hitting a bump in the road too hard. It's not unprecedented.
Granting that, if you buy an actual OneWheel, as produced by FutureMotion, you stand a chance of bricking the thing and costing yourself hundreds of dollars to have FutureMotion repair [read: flash the firmware to unbrick the board] to retrieve a skateboard thing costing thousands—

That's not an exaggeration.

—other companies here and there in the world have started making their own monopedal skateboard things; but they're different, in that you can actually replace parts on the things.

You could arguably build a whole FloatWheel from spare parts; call it an instalment plan.

Which then returns us to FutureMotion, who are suing FloatWheel [despite their location in China] for stealing their stolen idea.
The rationalisation, as mentioned above, is that FloatWheels aren't required to meet or exceed whatever American NannyState Standards, so they'll probably just explode, and that'll somehow get FutureMotion into the same sorta trouble they assure us that letting you unplug a battery would get them into. And that might be true; but it doesn't answer some questions I've still got....
But, first, let's mention a couple things that oughtta be known in advance....
First of all: I'm writing this here, on my site, largely because—half the time—if I respond to things in groups at, whatever I end up writing ends up getting deleted when a given thread shuts down. So, since we want this to be a topic of discussion, I'm writing it here where I can keep it from disappearing on me.
Second: Bodhi's okay. Like, I don't suspect that we need to tell him to blink twice if he's being threatened, or anything. When he left a few months ago, getting hired by FutureMotion, I didn't suppose that he'd been poached; if I assumed anything, it might have involved Bodhi snapping a clavicle earlier this year and accepting donations because, apparently, TFL aren't giving their people terribly fullcovered health insurance.
The point is that I'm approaching the various levels of this issue under the thinking that, whatever's wrong with FutureMotion, I can only presume things based on what I've seen; and, whatever Bodhi's reasons for ostensibly joining the enemy team, he's got them and they're probably not all that evil on their own.
So. Here's what bugs me about this Lawsuit for Safety....
There are companies within America attempting to make these motorised monopods, which FutureMotion keep going after. Supposing that companies in America are required by law to maintain whatever levels of safety and quality and whatever as FutureMotion are, then it's irrelevant that FloatWheel are in China: that FutureMotion like to sue competitors within the nation tells me that China's substandard consumer safety laws are a meaningless excuse. I could note at this point that places like are examples of a company within America that FutureMotion have made absurd numbers of efforts to suppress.
I'm also not thrilled with FutureMotion's argument that, if You the Owner of Your OneWheel were allowed to unplug the battery, you'd be too stupid to do it correctly, and then you'd die, and then they'd get in trouble again. You'd think I might be strawmanning them on that point; but, when it came to light that unplugging the battery on the GT would brick the thing, a guy with a GT, who's also an engineer at NASA, had FutureMotion assure him that he, like anyone else not directly employed by FutureMotion, was far too stupid to plug a cable back in all by himself.
I do actually get the concern on that. If a particularly stupid consumer does a particularly stupid thing to what he's consuming, it's not a stretch to imagine that he [or his next of kin] will try to make it your fault, as the producer of the thing, that it sproinged and became unsafe. I also consider the extremity of FutureMotion's position specifically to be hilariously paranoid and pretty cheap as an excuse.
Sure: a OneWheel is something of a vehicle; so, if you do something stupid to it, and it shuts off at thirty miles an hour, you're hitting the ground several seconds after you've been launched off the thing. So don't do that. But pretending that a OneWheel is the only consumer level device capable of hurting someone when it goes defective is simply solipsistic. Go get a Samsung Phone; you won't even need to swap its battery before it spontaneously combusts in your pocket. And yet you can [or at least could, last time I deigned to buy a Samsung] replace its battery; no one at Samsung accused NASA of lacking the intellect to do that.
Jake Leary—also at TFL, last I knew—had a pretty lengthy rant a year or two ago where he stated flatly that he doesn't trust anything FutureMotion ever says. That was on the topic of NASA being too stupid to plug in a battery, but it reached back to the long list of things FutureMotion have said and done over the years. I'm trying not to focus much on that specifically, since it's anecdotal; but I can state that, just in the couple years I've been keeping an eye on FutureMotion, I'm disinclined to trust anything they have to say, too.
The last time I mentioned this whole thing, in the CMS that's now offline, it was largely about the Department of Jarts trying to shut down FutureMotion and OneWheels and anything that might be fun; and therefore it was about FutureMotion making some changes over the course of a year and pushing out a mandatory firmware update to add Haptic Feedback to various models of OneWheels in an attempt to prevent people from overpowering the things and having them shut down at thirty miles an hour. I didn't let the update happen; I still haven't. And one of the reasons for that was that, the last time [and the first time, as it happened] that I allowed them to update the firmware on one of my boards, it removed the voltage readouts. If you can't guess why that matters to me: the voltage readout allowed me to see whether any of the batteries within the battery bank were undercharged and threatening to let the board shut off under normal conditions. So, telling me that I need a firmware update for safety, when the last firmware update removed an element of safety, mostly tells me that you don't understand batteries, and/or that I shouldn't trust anything FutureMotion ever say.
Another reason I can't really trust FutureMotion on pretty much any issue, but specifically on suing copycats for safety, is that they got an injunction against Smilo Motors and had the US Marshalls raid their booth at the 2016 CES Conference, ostensibly for the purpose of crowding out onsite competition, and then dropped their lawsuit against Smilo once it looked like Smilo might do more than give up and shut down. Smilo make the Trotter, which I'd warn is a terrible device that no one should ever go into a room with; but I can do that without pulling an ephemeral burst of barratry for the apparent purpose of preventing them from telling me I'm wrong about something.
The whole situation is dumb. And the excuses maintaining the situation are dumber.
Bodhi reports, later in the thread that's still updating, that FutureMotion are at least entertaining the idea of making parts [maybe even batteries, if everyone suddenly gets smarter than NASA] available, and/or allowing repair shops to open anywhere but the one place in the world officially allowed to open up the OneWheel You Own and swap things out. But, while I'd acknowledge that that'd be a good start toward fixing the problems and illwill that FutureMotion have caused to date, it doesn't impress me personally. At this point, I'm really not sure what would: issue a new firmware update to give me my voltage readings back; but, to be real, telling me that that's all the update does to my board, I'd disbelieve you—because there's no trusting a word FutureMotion ever says.
And that's about what I've got. Bodhi's cool; FutureMotion are evil, and/or incompetent, and/or whatever could possibly explain the things they've said and done over the last decade; and this is here on my site so it'll stil be here tomorrow.
Have a webcomic:

More later....


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