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US architect creates 'Back to the Future'-style hoverboard

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A California-based architect who spent the last 20 years trying to develop ‘levitating’ buildings, has created a ‘Back to the Future’-style hoverboard instead

Although Marty McFly’s flying skateboard in Back to the Future II was pure sci-fi, fans can now own a functioning hoverboard designed by Greg Henderson

The Berkeley-trained architect has devoted the last two decades developing ideas to make buildings earthquake-resilient by ‘levitating’ them, but decided to apply his technology to levitating objects instead.

Several prototypes later, he has now created the Hendo Hoverboard, capable of carrying a weight of up to 140kg (approximately two people).

Henderson has now started a crowd-funding scheme to further develop the technology a year in advance of McFly and Doc’s supposed ‘visit to the future’ on 21 October 2015.

Hendo Hoverboard. Image: Arx Pax.

Hendo Hoverboard. Image: Arx Pax.

However, those looking forward to emulating Marty McFly’s antics will have to wait a little longer. The Hendo Hoverboard can only hover about 3cm above the ground and only above conductive surfaces which allow its electromagnetic technology to operate. The board’s batteries also limit hovering time to just 15 minutes.

Although similar technology is already used to power bullet trains, Henderson’s technology does have one major innovation as it allows levitation to occur on passive surfaces, bypassing the need to lay sensors or for specially-designed tracks.

‘I’m an architect, not a scientist,’ Henderson said in an interview with Forbes magazine. ‘The idea came from being able to levitate buildings out of earthquakes. All of the patents I was looking at were for moving objects. So I asked, why is that?’

He added: ‘If I can levitate a train, why not a house? We want to use the Hendo hoverboard and hover engines as a way to capture attention and bring attention to an important topic. Our responsibility is to help figure out a better way to build.’

Two years ago, Henderon founded Arx Pax to produce the hoverboards, and is now trying to raise $250,000 through crowd-funding to develop the technology further. While pledges start at $5, for $299 buyers can purchase the hover board technology kit to levitate their own objects, while the chance to own one of the first 10 hoverboards will set you back $10,000.  

 

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