Science fiction has done a pretty good job of predicting the future, but one invention my life would really benefit from is a hoverboard. The Hendo Hoverboard is a hoverboard that really, truly, actually works…just not in many places, and not for very long. Sigh.
Before I drag us through the (many) limitations, let’s get the good stuff out of the way first. The Hendo Hoverboard uses Arx Pax’s Magnetic Field Architecture, which are basically fancy electromagnets, to lift the board an inch off the ground. The MFA system can also be used to propel the board forward, though its main purpose is to keep the board levitating, as the system was originally envisioned to help large buildings cope with earthquakes and aftershocks. Using four of the MFAs, the Hendo Hoverboard can hold a 250-lb adult one-inch off the ground.
Awesome, right? Well get out your umbrella because I’m about to pee on your parade. For one, the Hoverboard gobbles up power, draining the on-board battery in just seven-minutes. Also, the hoverboard only works on non-ferrous conductive surface like copper, because magnets. Seeing as how the streets aren’t paved with copper, gold, or a similarly conductive metal, the Hoverboard is pretty much limited to specially-made ramps, like the one Hendo built itself.
Finally, there’s the cost; a working Hendo Hoverboard will set you back $10,000 (!!), and believe it or not 10 people have already signed onto the Kickstarter page pledging that amount. That alone accounts for about 40% of Hendo’s $250,000 goal, and as of this writing they are less than $20,000 from their goal after just a week of being online.
Thankfully the team recognized that not everyone can afford a $10,000 limited-use hoverboard, so they are offering instead a $299 “Whitebox” development kit that comes with a Hendo hover engine and enough of a proper surface (probably a sheet of copper) to use test it out. There are varying levels of the Whitebox, and even a full-sized replica of the Hoverboard for $449.
But until it works everywhere I’m going to have to keep hoping and praying somebody gives me a Hoverboard Marty McFly would be proud of. I’ll hold out for my Imperial Speeder Bike instead.