Forget magnets, this hoverboard generates lift the old fashioned way

By Shawn Knight · 24 replies
Dec 25, 2015
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  1. Are you put off by this season's imposter (not to mention, dangerous) "hoverboards" yet still immensely interested in the actual concept? If so, ARCA Space Corporation will gladly take your money - all $20,000 of it - in exchange for a pre-order of its ArcaBoard.

    Not to be confused with today's two-wheeled, self-balancing scooters that claim to be hoverboards, ArcaBoard appears to be the real deal. It's not pretty and far from what you'd call "small" but it does hover and that's all that matters, right?

    Whereas the Lexus Slide prototype from earlier this year used magnets to generate lift, the ArcaBoard does so the old fashioned way: with lots of powerful fans (36, to be exact). The company claims its 180-pound electric flying machine produces 272 horsepower (that's more than a lot of vehicles) and 203,000 watts which can lift a person weighing up to 243 pounds.

    Performance-wise, the ArcaBoard can fly up to a foot off the ground at speeds of up to 12.5 mph for a maximum of six minutes on a single charge.

    Feeling a bit skeptical? You aren't the only one. Several publications are labeling the ArcaBoard as little more than vaporware. The video above does show some test flight footage although it looks as if the rider is having a pretty tough time keeping his balance. The $19,900 price tag also seems a bit much, but I digress.

    We'll find out soon enough as ARCA says it plans to ship its hoverboard in April 2016.

    Permalink to story.

  2. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,829   +634

    Only "Slightly" bigger than a skateboard, and 20 times heavier, 100 times more expensive. It'll be interesting to see where they go with this. Also goes to show you the idea of a flying car will take a tremendous amount of power if 272 HP can only lift roughly 420 pounds in such a setup. Technology has a long ways to go still.
    p3ngwin likes this.
  3. G0DofPaiN

    G0DofPaiN TS Booster Posts: 58   +35

    Looks like you can't take sharp corners with this so if a car is coming towards you at full speed only the front flip can save you, assuming you dont have 150kg.
    Reehahs likes this.
  4. umbala

    umbala TS Maniac Posts: 197   +176

    It "hovers" for 6 minutes and then you probably have to charge it for hours to get another 6 minutes out of it. it doesn't look like you can do much with it except awkwardly hover in a confined space. I'd love to see someone try this on a dirt road or anywhere with dust/debris! Considering how much wind force this thing exerts it would probably create some nasty dust storms! Also, I bet this thing is SUPER loud to boot. Obviously they removed the sound of this thing from the video on purpose.
    stewi0001 and p3ngwin like this.
  5. Adam Non

    Adam Non TS Rookie

    At $20K and probably a few minutes' run time, this is how things start: expensive, impractical.
    In a year, $8K, 30 minutes on a battery pack that can be swapped out in 5 seconds.
    In five years, "free with holographic game software subscription."
    Reehahs, H3llion and CoryM like this.
  6. hahahanoobs

    hahahanoobs TS Evangelist Posts: 2,046   +680

    They keep saying it allows you to fly. A foot off the ground is NOT flying. I actually think this is a joke.
    p3ngwin, H3llion and bugejakurt like this.
  7. Tom Satriani

    Tom Satriani TS Rookie

    Popescu and Lang seem totally awed by their creation which I found lame. Two improvements are definitely needed: 1. They need to get help from a feedback control engineer to solve the instability issue. If I had an invention which required me to wave my arms around nervously in order to stay upright, I certainly wouldn't show that to the world on a video. It looks like a kid with time on his hands just put big motors and fans together until it had enough air pressure to lift it. That is not "engineering". 2. They need the help of an aerodynamic engineer to change the shape of the bottom with proper ducting so that it isn't wasting so much energy. Until they really engineer it, I'm no more impressed than when I watch those youtube videos of an uneducated hillbilly bolting big motors on things.
    p3ngwin likes this.
  8. CoryM

    CoryM TS Rookie

    It's difficult to tell. With things like this I always feel developers try to go too far too fast (no pun). I see more potential in adding fans to an off-road board, making it possible to enhance jumps or slow descent.

    The design presented in the video, might as well go big or go home. Add more fans, a seat, and a large fan with a rudder and you have a hovercraft without a skirt. I would have proposed a ring of fans and gone for a disc shape. The airflow is a challenge, though. I wonder if the ring design could reduce the size enough to add a solid platform ontop, and using a chambered body, redirect the intake to the sides of the unit.
    p3ngwin likes this.
  9. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 3,355   +2,004

    Wow ... $20,000 for six minutes? Hmmmmm .... that won't even get me through the lines at Walmart! Think I'd rather add in the $180,000 and get the jet pack that goes for 30 minutes on 5 gals of gas .... at least that will get a heck of a lot higher up that this thing .....
    p3ngwin likes this.
  10. Kevin73

    Kevin73 TS Rookie

    I only watched the video but I'm not sure who they're trying to kid. This is something that 13 year old boys dream of then grow up to realize isn't actually a very good idea. Do what the experts did back in the 1960s... Put a skirt around the board, drop all but two of the lift motors, stick on another couple of motors horizontally for acceleration and steering. It will still have all of the failures of a regular hovercraft but it'll be a lot easier to stand on and far more functional.
    p3ngwin likes this.
  11. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,026   +2,557

    Has anybody ever considered the absurdly annoying downdraft column of air coming out of junk like this? The only "flight" things like this are capable of is due to the, "proximity effect", of air pressure creating lift close to the ground. This works in "hovercraft boats", because the air column is trapped by the rubber, "gasket", "sealing ring", "call it what you will", reduces greatly the need for raw horsepower.

    So, as the distance above the ground increases, proximity effect decreases, and power requirement skyrockets, (pun intended).

    Wing efficiency increases as square footage increases. A propeller, (or impeller), is nothing but a wing being driven through air, as opposed to a wing being pulled through air, as in a fixed wing craft. So, tiny little propellers are an inefficient way of generating the necessary air movement.

    In any event, without a further extended diatribe on aerodynamic fixed truths, the developers of this crap, and the "flying car set", think the average person is an imbecile and will buy into this nonsense.

    No matter how efficient electric motors and batteries become, you still have to move "X" amount of air, to lift "Y" payload.

    Now picture the street in front of your house, with hurricane like blasts of air, coming off every car that goes by. Doesn't sound like any place I'd like to live. And that's not to mention, the fact a, "body in motion tends to remain in motion", which is massively increased without a solid connection between said body and a solid roadway. If you think people suck at driving now, wait til they start parking their flying cars in your living room from missing the turn into their driveway.

    So then, I guess we'll need "driver-less flying cars" to rid ourselves of "driver error".. Right, what some of you desperately need, is a reality check.
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2015
    Uncle Al likes this.
  12. Nobina

    Nobina TS Evangelist Posts: 1,339   +843

    You can't move with it so it's kinda ****.
  13. OortCloud

    OortCloud TS Addict Posts: 173   +56

    Can you imagine how noisy this thing must be???
    All the videos are muted with nice music playing, but surely in reality it must be like standing on a jet engine noise-wise - 32 high-speed industrial fans burning through 203,000 watts of battery power in 6 minutes...
    Also how long and how much would it cost to recharge that much battery power?

    Seems like a real barn-door-engineering approach to the problem to me.
  14. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,026   +2,557

    Well, that's 203 kilowatt hours of electricity. My cost per kw is .15 cents So, .15 X 203,000 = $30.50 for every 6 minutes of "flight time".

    You're categorizing, "fanatical stupidity", as "engineering"? :eek:
  15. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,274

    20 grand? 6 minutes of actual use and the price of electricity these days? The noise? No thanks, it's a novelty, an impractical and expensive one at that. I may be dull but I'd rather drive, run, walk or crawl and keep my money instead.
    p3ngwin likes this.
  16. Mike st

    Mike st TS Rookie

    What a bunch of romanian greedy capitalistic scum. So... not only it is expensive as hell, but also its inefficient, ineffective, impractical, unsuitable, unrealistic, unworkable, unprofessional , *****ic and dangerous. Makes you wonder how old are these people 10? 12?
    No mater how you look at it, Its pure scam. And the video itself was made very psychologically convincing that one actualy needs such a device even if it lasts 6 minutes. Pathetic people, trying to sell things others wont realy need.
    p3ngwin likes this.
  17. Nobina

    Nobina TS Evangelist Posts: 1,339   +843

    But it's OK when Apple or Google do it.
  18. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,026   +2,557

    I haven't seen anything quite this asinine come from Apple or Google. OK, so maybe the Apple Watch is "remotely close" (*) to the scope of this farce. If you've seen anything close to this bizarre and patently stupid come from either of those two, give me a heads up on it, and we'll ridicule it together!(y)
    Isn't that the same general area where some "company" was trying to huckster a "flying car" last year sometime?

    Here ya go, it was Slovakia: Pretty much the same general area, with maybe a half dozen less gypsy horse traders.

    I don't know why they can't try to earn money the old fashioned honest way. You know, send you an email and tell you they're a, "Nigerian Prince".

    (*) Intentional oxymoron
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2015
    p3ngwin and Mike st like this.
  19. aMerkuri

    aMerkuri TS Enthusiast Posts: 49   +19

    Sorry, 1. april is not here yet guys.
    mantissteam likes this.
  20. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 3,355   +2,004

    I'm betting sales in Texas, New Mexico, & Arizona won't kick up as much excitement as the dust storm they will produce!
  21. emmzo

    emmzo TS Booster Posts: 142   +37

    To begin with, the video is so fking pretentious that one instantly feels the need to ridicule it.
    The concept itself is not that bad, but the product is raw and pretty much useless at this point. Should they added some type of thrusters, covered the whole box in very efficient solar panels, added sensors for stability control (the guy barely keeps his balance in the video), so one could hover to any direction for at least 15 minutes, then yeah, maybe ...
  22. p3ngwin

    p3ngwin TS Enthusiast Posts: 27   +9

    1955 we already had such experimental hover vehicles:

    and even later, continued experiments with "jet engine technology" demonstrated the impractical nature of such "personal transport".
  23. p3ngwin

    p3ngwin TS Enthusiast Posts: 27   +9

    This old attempt from U. S. Air Force Museum, in Dayton Ohio uses side intakes:
  24. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 3,355   +2,004

    I have seen the 2nd one up at Wright Patterson AFB in Dayton, Ohio. The stats on it were actually pretty impressive, but as observed by quite a few inside and outside the military, the sheer noise of the thing made it impractical and the gyro units were not terribly dependable. They might have a better shot at it today, but frankly, the actual usability still leaves much to be desired, especially with the new ducted fan "jet packs" that are appearing .....
  25. DAOWAce

    DAOWAce TS Booster Posts: 268   +39

    ..Basically, we need a mini anti-gravity device with stabilization for any real science fiction hoverboard (BTTF) to be possible on Earth as a means of travel.

    But hey, progress!

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