A lot of skateboarders dreamt of having a hoverboard. Well, if you’re a 90’s kid you’re definitely mind blown on how this thing works, and you’ve probably told your parents that you want one. 26 years later – we finally got a hoverboard! This cool gadget from the Back to the Future films is within reach – those who want to have a real hoverboard is a step closer to their dreams!
American startup Arx Pax raised $510,590 on crowdfunding website Kickstarter in December for its Hendo hoverboard, with plans to ship the first in October to 11 backers who each pledged $10,000 for one of the first.
Hendo is the vision of Greg “Hendo” Henderson. He is an architect whose interest in hovering comes from the idea of levitating buildings, homes and hospitals – to help them escape damage from natural disasters like floods and earthquakes. With all the hype comes an important question: How in the world does this thing work? The basic premise behind the technology is something called Magnetic Field Architecture (MFA) – Henderson’s term for what others may call magnetic levitation or maglev, which is already used to power superfast, hovering trains in Japan, China and South Korea. These trains use magnets to create lift and thrust and can travel at blistering speeds because there is no friction between the train’s wheels and axles and the rails.
Though the tech behind the Hendo Hoverboard is different from current applications of maglev as the board doesn’t follow a track. Instead, it hovers freely on top of a surface plated in copper. The sad truth is, once this is available, you need to have a conduction surface to make it float. Right now, the Hendo hoverboard is designed to levitate over copper, but it could also be made to hover over aluminum, as well as a variety of nonmetal materials that are also inductors, Henderson said. The technology behind the hoverboard is also offered in a scaled-back form, as the Whitebox Developer Kit, which is simply a box equipped with the company’s signature hover engines.
Many have tried to make the hoverboard a reality. Some have used magnetic tracks and liquid nitrogen while others used a duct tape and a leaf blower. For now, it is not yet available in the market as they are still “crowdfunding” to develop the hoverboard more. But the company is planning to present the first 11 purchasers with theirs on 21 October – “Back to the Future day,” after the date made famous in the film – and Henderson says it’s already fielding interest from skateboarding parks in installing the necessary surface.