If you’ve never seen the Back to the Future saga, well, you should. They’re great movies. But mostly, because without seeing it this article might not bring as much nostalgia out of your childhood memories as it should. In Back to the Future II, Marty McFly traveled to the future where he utilized his 1985-skateboarding skills to hop on the new version of his old transport. You guessed it (well, maybe you didn’t, but again if you’d just watch the movie…), a HOVERBOARD!
Watching a young Michael J. Fox float around town on a hovering skateboard without wheels brought joy to kids everywhere, and they immediately wanted one. But since the movie came out in 1989, the technology has never been mastered, leaving kids and teens everywhere tied to their “old school” skateboards instead of what they really wanted. Well, believe it or not, it appears the time is finally here.
A startup company in California called Arx Pax has been working on the technology to make the iconic hoverboard possible, and the company founder Greg Henderson has created a prototype of the futuristic board called the Hendo. The prototype is nowhere near what Marty rode in the movie, but the technology is already a lot further than I would have ever imagined I’d be seeing in my lifetime.
Right now, the Hendo utilizes Magnetic Field Architecture, a proprietary technology similar to what is used in levitating trains. It allows the board to hover an inch or so off the ground, and reacts to your weight distribution in order to turn and stop. The main issue currently is that it only works when over the correct surface type, like copper or aluminum. It’s also battery operated, so it only has a life of around seven minutes.
But Arx Pax has promised they are continuing to work hard at developing the technology further, as well as releasing the technology to those willing to make donations for a chance to work on its applications as well. Henderson and company have stated that they plan on having a fully functional hoverboard available by October 21, 2015, which just so happens to be the exact date that Marty McFly journeys to in the future. How badass is that?
Henderson has also stated that the technology was not originally intended to create a hoverboard, but rather to be used for other applications such as saving a building from certain destruction like an earthquake. If the hoverboard is a possibility, I have to believe that other applications such as this has to be a possibility as well. So what does that mean for the world of automobiles? Could we be seeing fully hoverable vehicles much like those in the same Back to the Future movie in a short period of time as well? Only time will tell.
But damn it I hope so! That would be a far better way for automobile manufacturers to spend their time and money than developing a vehicle that drives by itself.