Don't Get Too Excited About That New 'Hoverboard' Just Yet

Don't Get Too Excited About That New

People are understandably really excited about the latest hoverboard currently being crowdfunded at Kickstarter. It's called the Hendo, and it's being developed by Greg and Jill Henderson for their company Arx Pax. Is it real? Yes. Has our Back to the Future hoverboard finally arrived? Sadly, no.

The New York Times reporters who tried out the Hendo explain that the device isn't quite the hoverboard we were promised in 1989 — let alone the one we saw earlier this year. The thing only works on a special metallic surface, the battery lasts "just a few minutes", and it's incredibly noisy. The Verge said it could only be described as a "high-pitched screech" and a "cacophony of squeals".

"It's not exactly Marty McFly's hoverboard. Now it only works on special surfaces, and the battery life is only a few minutes long. And it's tough to ride," the New York Times explains in a new video shot at Arx Pax in Los Gatos, California.

The biggest problem for those of us pining for a real hoverboard is that the Hendersons and Arx Pax are admittedly just using this particular application of their technology as a publicity stunt. Long term, they're not actually interested in developing a hoverboard. The company has patents for building foundation systems to prevent earthquake damage, which is its real goal.

According to the New York Times:

The business plan is to develop magnetic technologies and licence patents to builders, engineering firms, the Green Goblin and anyone else who might need to hover something.

Mr. Henderson may be a dreamer, but he is enough of a realist to understand that people are likely to be more interested in hovering skateboards than they are in his ideas for new kinds of building foundations.

"So no, I did not feel like Marty McFly. But you can definitely tell you're floating. That's for sure. You can kind of feel that something is lifting you," Conor Dougherty from the New York Times explains.

"We can't go over water or sidewalks yet. This is the Model T," Greg Henderson told the New York Times in defence of his creation.

The trouble is that it's not really the Model T. Henry Ford built the Model T and saw it as the perfection of the automobile after many iterations. The Hendo isn't even the Model A. It's Henry Ford's shopping cart.

Picture: Trial of the Hendo via the New York Times



    I doubt they will ever make one. The physics is against it. Thin plank pushing up, heavy weight with high centre of gravity pushing down, no side directional friction all spells instant topple.

      Realistically it seems more like an issue of power than physics.

        Go to a pool one day and try stand on a float that will carry your weight. Make sure the float is no bigger than a skateboard. See how long you can stay upright. The same principle would occur with a hover board. The only way around it would be that the hover board would have to hover without pushing up. Fixed in space so to say. Then your weight can then balance on its surface, and then it would work. :)

          Imagine you have a bajillion kwh battery. How much stabilization does that buy you? :P

          With enough power, anything is possible.

            A bazillion kW battery would be bigger than the skateboard I'd imagine but yes I get your point. Something in the future might allow for a hover board to work but I'd say that's a long long way off. For a start it would have to have a gyroscope in it to keep it from wanting to flip. We have those now but it's the levitating side of it that will have to wait until we figure something out.

      The more we learn about physics - which we've only really scratched the surface of still - the more likely this kind of tech is. Who knows, in 20 year we might make a ' localized higgs field inhibitor' and goodbye gravity... oh, except all our particles would run away from each other at the speed of light. Back to the drawing board for me.

    Seth Sentry said it best in this song...

      Beat me to it XD

        Me too - but stuff the hover board, where's my light sabre dammit!

    Yeah but they made one for Back to the Future. Can't they just get that one and copy it?


    Everyone is just getting hung up on the idea that when a "real" hoverboard gets created, its going to operate exactly as it did in Back to the Future. The reality is that it probably never will operate exactly as it was shown, but the idea is there. I'm pretty sure we're glad that not everything is turning out like it did in is the BTF 2015 - otherwise we would have "Jaws 19", buggy CRT TVs serving us at a diner and kids wearing their pants inside-out (that is probably still a possibility)

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