Marty McFly’s hoverboard from Back to the Future Part II is now a reality, and a working model exists in the offices of a Bay Area startup.
Arx Pax, a start-up based in Los Gatos, California, is developing micro-sized electromagnetic levitation systems — a pint-sized version of the system that allows Maglev trains to hover above the tracks — and in order crowdfund further research has developed a hoverboard called the Hendo as a proof of concept.
“About two years ago, we began investigating MFA and hover technology as a better way to build, move people and move materials. During our research, we discovered a way to transmit electromagnetic technology that is far more efficient than anything else,” founder and inventor Greg Henderson said in a statement. “This means that our patent-pending Hendo Hover Engine technology can enable platforms to hover over non-ferrous materials with payloads of virtually any size and weight.”
Backers who contribute $299 to the Arx Pax’s kickstarter receive a kit that includes a smaller version of the maglev engine used in the Hendo, and a sheet of a conductive surface in order to test it. The latter of which is important, because the engine requires a conductive surface to create the magnetic field in order to hover. The developer kit can support up to 40 pounds while the board can support up to 300 pounds.
Henderson said to the press that he sees many uses for the levitation technology. He gave the example of a building that’s able to hover slightly above its foundation during an earthquake, thereby avoiding damage from the seismic waves.
But first his company needs money, and he’s hoping the enthusiasm over a real hoverboard — not a product of special effects like the Funny or Die prank video on HUVr Tech — will generate the right push to get his research funded.
“While the possibilities are both exciting and nearly limitless,” Henderson continued in the announcing press release, “we decided to build a hoverboard prototype and hover engine developer kits right out of the gate. Our hope is that the Hendo Hoverboard will generate excitement, enthusiasm and financial interest from people who want to see it brought to fruition, and that our hover engine developer kits will spark the imagination of millions of potential inventors of other hover technology solutions. It is still early days, but we are absolutely thrilled because we have proven conclusively that what was widely considered impossible is, in fact, possible.”
While backing the project with $299 gets you the development kit, those who kick in $10,000 will get an upgraded version of the hoverboard to keep. The delivery date? October 21, 2015 — when McFly is set to arrive in the future.