A hoverboard was once a fictional levitating board used to transport a person from one place to another. As seen in the movies, this is the future to replace all modes of personal and public transportations. Scientists and engineers endeavor to make it a reality, but there come many challenges. An average flying hoverboard has to be lightweight, consume less fuel and should be able to fly for a longer time to cover long-distance travel. There have been a lot of prototypes that became successful at some point, but were not launched commercially because of their limitations being in the developmental stage, the exorbitant price, and pose risks to users.
Some companies are investing a lot of money to make it work publicly. Here are some of the prototypes that had been developed so far:
1. Jet-Powered Hoverboard by Zapata
Franky Zapata always dreamt of flying, but because of his disability of being a color-blind, he was never qualified for being a helicopter pilot. After being disqualified, he didn’t stop there and focused on jet ski racing and later he founded his own jet ski company Zapata Racing. But even after making a career in jet ski business he never gave up on his dream. Using various models of jet engines from an airplane and a platform, he designed EZ-Fly, which was capable of flying 80mph (129kph) at an altitude of 9,000 feet (2,743 meters). Along with the hardware and computer program, Franky developed a steady algorithm to keep the board as steady and safe as possible to fly. This prototype is still at the development stage and costs around $200,000 to $250,000.
2. SLIDE Hoverboard by Lexus
The world-famous Japanese luxury car company, of course, tried their luck in this futuristic innovation. It was originated from a corporate project to develop a premium sedan. Inspired by the movie Back to The Future II, Lexus has announced the Lexus SLIDE hoverboard. It was built for scientific achievement, and not for public sale. This slide relies on Flux Pinning and Meissner effect. And this all worked because of the superconductors inside the board. Superconductors are conductors that have no internal resistance as long as they are kept below a certain temperature. It creates a magnetic field by passing an electrical current between the ground the board. These magnetic forces between the board and ground repel each other and so the board is lifted above the track. It was tested by a pro skateboarder Ross McGouran at a custom-built skate park in Barcelona, Spain.
3. Omni Hoverboard
Catalin Alexandu Duru, a Canadian inventor tested a new type of propeller-based hoverboard prototype and achieve a world record. Omni doesn’t use magnetic field technology and instead, they focused on quadcopter technology. Their startup Mark-1 already made a world record for the longest hoverboard flight and they are already working on Mark-2. Mark-1 prototype can fly up to 1min 30sec for the distance of 905ft but they are constantly improving their system and technology to last their battery for a longer time. Currently, they are working on flight efficiency and stability until their batteries become powerful enough for commercial use. The only drawback of this propeller-based technology is it makes the hoverboard very noisy.
4. Hendo Hoverboard
Arx Pax, the company behind the Hendo Hoverboard tried to make the futuristic fantasy of riding on a hoverboard across the town. They are mainly focused on harnessing the power of electromagnets in developing their hoverboard technology. The basic premise in this technology is called Magnetic Field Architecture (MFA). It uses disc-shaped magnetic hover engines located at the bottom of the board which works on a custom-made track that allows the board to levitate by using magnetic fields which unfortunately limits its application. Moreover, it’s battery only lasts just a few minutes, and the price for the hoverboard starts at $10,000.