One by one, it seems that crowdfunding websites are enabling us to build the devices of science fiction folklore. The Oculus Rift was thrust into the mainstream tech community via Kickstarter a year and a half before Facebook scooped up the project and now, a separate Kickstarter project aims to bring another futuristic device to life: the hoverboard.
Marty McFly’s gravity-defying toy captured the imagination of millions when it first appeared on the big screen in Back to the Future Part II. The only problem, of course, is the fact that it – like the movie it appeared in – was pure fiction.
The Hendo Hoverboard, however, is anything but a toy. It’s a true-to-life hoverboard that uses four disc-shaped “hover engines” to create a magnetic field that generates lift, thus levitating the board. At present, it only works on surfaces with a non-ferromagnetic conductor but the team behind it is hoping to change that eventually.
Truth be told, the Hendo Hoverboard is just a proof-of-concept to demonstrate the hover engine technology. Its design was inspired by architecture, we’re told, with the vision of being able to flip a switch and levitate entire buildings out of harm’s way (think earthquakes, floods, etc.).
Its creators, Greg and Jill Henderson, say the technology is similar to a maglev train but is more efficient and more affordable.
Perfecting the technology, and in turn, the Hoverboard, will require time and resources which is where the Kickstarter campaign comes in. The campaign offers a number of reward levels including a 5-minute ride on their board for $100 but the real fun starts with the $299 Whitebox Developer Kit.
The dev kit includes a hover engine set with enough surface to hover over. The team invites users to try and hover something of their own design. But if you’re after a true Hendo Hoverboard, be prepared to throw down some serious money - $10,000 – for the opportunity.