Its 2015 Where’s Our Hoverboards?
Back in 1990, when the film Back to The Future II used a fictional Hoverboard many crazed movie fans, science geeks and inventors have ever since been trying to create one. Basically, a Hoverboard is a “hovering board” or a levitating board that looks like a skateboard and is supposed to be used for transport. But instead of wheels, hoverboards glide in the air and lifts a person high up in the air. In the movie Back to the Future II, Marty Mcfly travels through time from 1985 to 2015 and uses a Hoverboard to escape from a group of bullies.
For years, rumours have been all over the internet that Hoverboards are already invented but were not sold in markets for the technology is not yet perfected and are still too dangerous. On March 2014, a prank video of people using a “real hoverboard” was streamed on a site with celebrities like a famous professional skateboarder and actor Tony Hawks, and actor from Back to the Future Christopher Lloyd. Many people believed the prank, soon after the company and the actors gave a public apology due to a lot of enraged citizens. Because of the worldwide impact of their Hoverboard prank, many companies started to create and commercialize hovercraft vehicles. Yet these hovercrafts are nothing like Hoverboard that was shown in the film.
Now the public is dying to know, is there a real Hoverboard out there?
The Hendo Hoverboard
The closest in building hoverboard technology is now a couple of architects, Greg and Jill Henderson from Northern California. At first look, their prototype of a Hoverboard looks like a magnetic skateboard that could float over a copper surface. Their Hoverboard still needs more modifications so it can be less noisy and more effective to carry a person. Basically, Hendo’s Hoverboard uses technology in the field of magnetic architecture which can be compared to the mechanism of today’s magnetic trains. This means that it needs a metallic surface to hover upon. So, it can’t really be used to ride to places or glide in the air wherever you want. Additionally, it is still in progress, it could only last 7 minutes of time even in full charge and can only hover for about an inch from the ground.
But Hendo’s Hoverboard technology is not only going to be developed as a mere simple skateboard or a method of transportation. As an architect, Greg wanted to use this same technology to hover buildings to save people during earthquakes. He only made a Hoverboard as publicity, so companies would fund his project on earthquake disaster prevention using hover technology.
Alexandru Duru’s Hoverboard
In 2015, a Romanian inventor who now resides in Canada named Catalin Alexandru Duru claimed that he invented a real hoverboard in his own design. But many fans were saying that his hoverboard doesn’t look like a skateboard at all. Duru’s hoverboard looked more like a mechanical foot gear helicopter or a drone, it even sounds like one. It’s large, bulky and had many contraptions around it. It has powerful rotors which lifted Duru 5 meters above the water. Duru’s Hoverboard was featured on Guinness Book of World Records and he set a record of levitation to 5 meters and a travel distance of 275 meters.
The Magsurf Hoverboard
A group of French researchers from the University of Paris Diderot created a prototype for a real hoverboard, and they call it the MagSurf. Their own designed Hoverboard uses superconductivity to levitate the board and propel people along a track. Superconductors work to expel magnetic field that passes through the board thus allowing levitation. For this to happen, the board has a four-litre of liquid nitrogen frozen at a temperature of -195˚celsius. The board doesn’t exactly move according to the control of the user but follows the track in which it was placed.
The Lexus Hover
Japanese car manufacturer Lexus also has its own real hoverboard design. They call it “Slide” and previewed the design on a short teaser video. The slide looks exactly like a skateboard but with a much sleeker and sexier design. It is comparably more stylish than Duru’s or even Hendo’s design. It is still under development according to the company and will be out for a couple more testing. Lexus is working with professional skateboards and scientists to perfect the design. The slide can hover a few centimetres above the ground and uses magnetic levitation to work. The slide doesn’t require batteries to work, but it needs magnets placed on a rail to work. It uses superconductors attached with permanent magnets. Despite their video publicity which earned 2 million views in only one day, Lexus told prematurely that they are not planning on mass-producing hoverboards. And if a luxury car company cracked the technology on how to make Hoverboard work, be sure that it’s not going to come out cheap!
Why is it hard to create a Hoverboard?
As advance our technology can be, a fully functioning Hoverboard is still quite difficult to make. One of the reasons for this can be read in Earnshaw’s theory, which states that repelling magnets are often hard to balance. The only thing that could make a real hoverboard easy to balance as if it had a magnetic track that would hold it in place. However, with a track, directions are limited and the board will only hover on a line. Now if our ideal Hoverboard were used for gliding and hovering, with this limitation, fun levels will drop to zero. If magnetism was used to create hoverboards, it would be restricted only to pavements made of conductors like aluminium and copper. And if superconductors were used, we would need a lot of rare-earth metals to line the pavements. And they don’t come very cheap. No matter how rich the government is, they can’t spend a million dollars lining up the highways with magnets. Unless someone invents a real functioning Hoverboard by the end of 2015, then sorry to all the fans out there, Hollywood has done nothing but give you the wrong expectations.