This time last year, we reviewed the Hendo -- a real-life hoverboard that actually levitates off the ground (as opposed to whatever this thing is.) The same company's new and improved model looks and feels more like a skateboard -- with help from Tony Hawk. The image above is just an illustration, since the real thing will be revealed later this month. But it looks rad as hell.
It's called the Hendo 2.0, designed by tech firm Arx Pax. Its goal? More closely resemble something worthy of Marty McFly. Compared to the original Hendo, which started as a Kickstarter campaign last year, this new board is sleeker, lighter, and quieter.
For comparison, here's what the original Hendo looked like:
Tony Hawk's feedback mostly had to do with how the board handled. As you can see from the above GIF, the original is moving more like a ridable ironing board. But the new 2.0 includes a thinner and narrower deck, which the company says makes the board easier to use.
Skateboard trucks, those metal axles under normal skateboards, were also added, which integrate the hover engines and improve "traction" as well.
How's it hover? It's all about magnets. Hendo 2.0, as well as its predecessor, use similar technology seen in those ultra fast maglev trains. The company calls the process "Magnetic Field Architecture." Using electromagnets, the board's engines generate magnetic fields that induce electrical currents in a conductive surface. Those currents create another magnetic field, and the fields from the surface and engines repel each other which causes the board to lift.
You can see the problem here: The board needs to be placed over a special conductive surface, like one made of copper. It won't work out in some asphalt parking lot. But down the road, the more people get on board, the more R&D that will get behind this technology and improve it. Hopefully.
"We are looking for those early adopter-visionaries to partner with," says Greg Henderson, Arx Pax cofounder and CEO. "It's not a question of 'if' this will happen, but 'when.'"
Other improvements over the original? Additional charging, USB connectivity and longer battery life, plus a wireless safety switch that allows the user to turn off the board remotely.
As far as other people on the interwebs referring to these things as hoverboards? Henderson says: "It's real simple. If what you are standing on is touching any type of surface other than air, you are not hovering."
Here are some photos of production:
"Great Scott! Ax Pax kicks arse! Best wishes for the future!" signed Bob Gale, screenwriter of Back to the Future
Images courtesy Arx Pax
Correction, 8:43 a.m. EST: The surface needs to be conductive, not contain magnets itself. This was clarified.