A California start-up has built a Back to the Future style hoverboard and is now crowd-funding to commercialise their product.
The Hendo Hoverboard, which bears a striking similarity to the one ridden by Marty McFly in the movie Back to the Future II, uses magnetic levitation technology to float an inch off the ground and the firm’s current prototype can support roughly 130kg.
The board relies on similar technology to MagLev trains, with four disc-shaped hover engines that create magnetic fields to provide the lift that levitates the board when it is above a non-ferrous metal surface, meaning the board will only work in specially designed hoverboard parks. Plans for a such a park are underway according to the firm.
The project is asking for $250,000 (£155,000) of investment on crowd-funding site Kickstarter, with the perks for supporting the project ranging from a 5 minute ride on the prototype board for $100 to owning one of the first 10 production boards for a pledge of $10,000.
“Yep, there was a movie. However, our attorneys have told us not to go there. So this is as far as we’ll take it,” says the description on the project’s Kickstarter page.
“The enabling technologies existed, but no one had yet been able to align them to bring a hoverboard forth. Hendo has done so, and our hoverboards are working in almost every way we could have imagined. But perfecting it will take a little more time and resources.”
Unlike Marty McFly’s hoverboard the Hendo device is primarily designed to be self-propelled, though the firm says the stabilisation technology should also be able to drive it forward by altering the projected force on the surface below.
The core technology behind the board is the firm’s trademarked Magnetic Field Architecture (MFA), which focusses the opposing magnetic fields created by eddy currents as the electro-magnets are moved relative to a conductive material.
The firm believes the technology has more far-reaching applications thanks to it being cheaper and more sustainable than other maglev technologies, with possible applications in transport, electromechanical fluid separation and even earthquake-resistant building design.
“The Hendo Hoverboard is a first-step product, a precursor to the broader implementation of the world-changing technology of MFA,” says the project’s Kickstarter page.
“It enables a new generation of lift and motion technology that will change the way we view transportation. Additional applications for MFA technology are virtually limitless - from business, to industry, to healthcare, and beyond.”
In an effort to spread the adoption of the MFA technology the firm is also offering Whitebox developer kits, which contain a single Hendo hover engine and a small piece of the required hover surface, for pledges of $299 and more.
The device is powered by rechargeable Lithium polymer batteries that give a hover time of 12 to 15 minutes with a recharge tome of roughly two hours. The Whitebox+, which requires a pledge of $699 upwards, adds a control and propulsion app that can be operated on iOS or Android mobile devices to steer the hover engine and even pre-programme movements.