Thursday, 22 October 2015

The $10,000 hoverboard that will send you right into the future

Ever wanted to take off like Marty McFly, without having to bend the space-time continuum?The DeLorean might still be some way off, but in the present hoverboard technology is cruising along nicely -- and its flagship model just got an upgrade.Hendo 2.0, the updated version of the hoverboard that caught everyone's attention exactly one year ago, has just been released, and it's quite something.
The hoverboard, the result of a collaboration with skateboard maestro Tony Hawk, works by using what is known as Magnetic Field Architecture hover engine technology."The hover engine creates a primary magnetic field which is then put over a candidate surface like aluminum or copper" explains Greg Henderson, co-founder and CEO of Arx Pax, the company behind the invention. "The hover engine then creates swirls of electricity and those create a secondary magnetic field, which propels the firsts."But the concept is more than just turning a science fiction vision into reality: "Essentially we are providing a tool," explains Greg.Arx Pax is making just 11 of the boards, to be shipped to backers of its initial Kickstarter funding campaign across the world: "Our second-generation hover engines which power Hendo 2.0 are stronger, more efficient, and open up new possibilities for the way we transport objects and people" says Jill Henderson, fellow co-founder of Arx Pax. They are not planning a wider release just yet, as the device is essentially a proof of concept."We've all heard of wearables. Now it's time to start thinking about moveables," she argues.Even Bob Gale, the screenwriter and producer who created the original hoverboard concept for the Back to the Future film, is a fan of the design: "It was a total high riding the Hendo because it embodied what we were trying to create in 1989. The Hendersons' movie-inspired technology has led to not only a functional hoverboard, but also other fascinating hover applications."For the Hendersons this type of technology has the potential to make a real difference across a whole range of industries, including transportation, structural isolation, industrial automation and even space exploration."If you don't have to touch the ground, what more does that enable?" asks Greg. Arx Pax say the potential could mean being able to isolate structures from unwanted movements, which could have huge applications for buildings in Earthquake zones. It would also lead to changes in car assembly, allowing it to no longer be linear and in space to use magnetic tethering devises to grab satellites magnetically.Arx Pax's Magnetic Field Architecture is also being made available to teams competing in SpaceX's Hyperloop pod competition. It's designed to help accelerate the development of the Hyperloop, the proposed vacuum tube transportation system that would take passengers from Los Angeles to Las Vegas in a mere 20 minutes, at 760 miles per hour.Longer term the significance of the technology goes way beyond what we can imagine. "All we talk about is hovering, but the technology goes way beyond that" explains Greg. "This leads to a more efficient transmission of electromagnetic energy." The possibilities are huge.But for many the big question is still, when will we get personal hoverboards? The answer according to Jill is no longer a matter of if, but when.

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