“Where we’re going, we don’t need roads”

Photo of Doc and Marty McFly in Back to the Future

Next year a variety of interesting inventions should appear on the market, according to Back to the Future anyway…

Roads will not be needed…

Learning to tie your shoelaces will be a thing of the past..

And those pesky teenagers would be riding these down the street…

One of these things you may have seen around the Internet for the last couple of days; the hoverboard.

Hendo Hoverboard

A new day brings a new Kickstarter campaign, and this one certainly has got the whole world excited, and for a mere $10,000 a real life hoverboard will be yours! Using four hover engines that create a magnetic field, the Hendo Hoverboard glides 1 inch above the surface.

It’s an interesting project, but they realise $10,000 will be out of reach for the majority of people, so they are also creating the ‘Whitebox’. A developer kit that contains the hoverboard technology in a white box for just $299, which is less than the price of a high end smartphone.

They want people to tinker and play with the technology to hover anything you want, or do something entirely different that they haven’t even thought of! It’s like a super duper Raspberry Pi that makes things levitate.

So what’s the catch?

You cynical bunch! But yes, there is a catch. A few actually. The biggest one being that this hoverboard won’t just work on any surface, and definitely won’t float over water like Marty McFly. Boo!

Ok so how does it work?

Although levitation using magnets seems like a simple principal, as we all know when we tried it as kids, it doesn’t really work that well. This is due to Earnshaw’s Theorem, which states that a stable static equilibrium between two magnets is impossible. Yep. Impossible.

However there is also Lenz’s Law, which explains how eddy currents are created when magnets move relative to a conductive material. These currents create an opposing magnetic field in the conductor. Hendo Hover have managed to focus this field more efficiently using their core technology, Magnetic Field Architecture (MFA™).

The future?

It looks bright, spectacular even; Hendo Hover wasn’t created just to make the hoverboard from the movies, they are a research company looking into more applications for this technology. The hoverboard is just the first step.

This technology could open up a whole new way to view transportation (we’ve heard about the levitating trains that in theory could reach 300mph and more), industry, healthcare and even allowing a building to ‘ride out’ an earthquake.

Oh and those self tying shoelaces? Well Nike are on to them as well and due to appear next year!