If you just discovered hoverboards, you might be disappointed to learn that they don’t actually hover. However, there are a few companies working on creating their own real hoverboard that lets you sail above the ground.
If you saw our hoverboard price article, you probably know that there is at least one real hoverboard on the market. But you may not have known that there are a few more products coming down the pipeline in the future.
Many of us have been waiting for a product like this ever since we saw Back to the Future. While the technologies are still new, it’s incredible to see something that, just a few short years ago, was nothing more than a science fiction fantasy.
Let’s take a look at the few products on the market and see what the pros and cons are of each.
1. The Lexus Hoverboard
A brand that’s normally known for their luxury cars made a big splash when they announced their entrance to the seemingly crowded hoverboard market. But the moment their release video hit the market, minds were blow.
Compared to many of the other real hoverboards on the market, this one seems to actually be usable. It’s a compact form factor, it looks easy to control, and most importantly it hovers. Could this product get any more impressive? Yes it can, as the video shows it even hovering gracefully over water.
It’s not until the “Making Of” video was released that we learned what kind of witchcraft made it tick. What they did was take a superconductor and cool it down with liquid nitrogen. In this state, the superconductor turns into more of a “super magnet” almost immediately.
Of course, it has to be really cold for this to work. -321 degrees Fahrenheit to be specific. See that smoke coming out of the side of the board? Yeah that’s nitrogen gas. Pretty futuristic, right?
The board is directed by a small metal rail that keeps it travelling along a specific path. It looks like it would be pretty fun to ride, but doesn’t quite fulfill our fantasy of flying around wherever we please. While this product isn’t going to be brought to market, it’s a strong indicator of what lays ahead.
2. The Hendo Hoverboard
Just like the Lexus hoverboard, Hendo also uses magnets to power their device. Unlike Lexus, this one gives you a little more control over where you’ll be travelling. The hendo takes four powerful magnets and arranges them in each corner of a beefy looking skateboard.
To get around the magnetic track option, they simply covered a large skate surface in a thin layer of metal to get the board to float.
This design has some advantages and some drawbacks. The obvious benefit is that you truly can go wherever you want. The metal sheeting used is very inexpensive, and very flexible. You can make your skate area as big or as small as you like. You can add bumps, jumps, and maybe even loops!
But if you’ve seen back to the future, you probably remember the lesson that Marty McFly learned pretty quickly when riding his hoverboard. It’s a little tricky to control something that doesn’t touch the ground.
Riding this board certainly looks like a blast, but it’s probably only suitable for people that don’t suffer from motion sickness.
Unfortunately, this is just a proof of concept at the moment. But the incredible response to this release helped Hendo raise a lot of money for research. Perhaps by your next birthday, the finished product will be available on store shelves.
3. Catalin Alexandru Duru’s Hoverboard
When you first see this thing, you might not realize that it’s a hoverboard. In fact, it looks a little more like an alien spacecraft than an actual hoverboard. But Catalin is actually the Guinness Book Of World Records entrant for “farthest distance travelled on a hoverboard.”
The story of how this board came to be is almost as impressive as the board itself. Catalin is an inventor. He’s an expert at physics and engineering. He’s been working on the concept for several years. After repeatedly testing different theories, he finally cracked the magic formula.
His hoverboard works using a propeller system. It can be used almost anywhere, and due to the way air pressure is generated it can reach incredible heights.
The problem with propellers has always been that it’s difficult to keep them stable. If you were to lose your footing, the board could flip and launch you into the ground.
But Catalin managed to come up with an advanced stabilization system that lets you influence the travel of the board, without causing instability.
Considering that Catalin provides something that million dollar corporations haven’t been able to figure out is really incredible. Watching the video, you’ll see him casually stroll above the water. Initially, he was just trying to break the world record of 50 meters.
But he destroyed this goal, managing to travel over 200 meters before the batteries finally gave out. This means that there is incredible potential for the platform.
Battery technology is getting better every single day, it may only be a year or two before we see this product on store shelves.
However, there are still a lot of manufacturing and safety kinks to work out. Until then, you’ll have to get by simply by watching the incredible video.
4. The Flyboard
If you’re looking for a real hoverboard, this is your most likely option. The main difference is that this board is made by a company that has a long track record of releasing actual commercial products. Zapata Racing is a company that has manufactured water powered jets for quite some time.
The user stands on the board above a lake, on a pump that is connected to a long hose. The board launches water out of the bottom, sucking it up from the lake. The incredible pressure with which the water leaves the board allows the user to fly a few feet above the lake.
Now, they’ve modified their system to work on air. The primary difference is that there is four outlets instead of one. This lets you control the direction of the board with a compact, hand-held remote.
The “flyboard air,” as they call it, is something really quite different from their water powered product.
If this test video has got you excited, look around in your local area to see if you can try out a water based flyboard. The company says that in order to safely fly it, you’ll need to have experience with their easier to control water based system.
This hoverboard is still in testing, but it could hit the market as early as next year.
5. The Arcaboard – A Real Hoverboard You Can Buy Today
Are you disappointed that we haven’t shown you any products that you can buy today? Well, no worries, because there is one board that you can have at your doorstep within a couple months. Make sure you call your bank first though, because this one is going to require a large credit limit.
The Arcaboard, just like the flyboard, is powered by air. But this one works a little more like a traditional hoverboard as it only flies a few feet above ground. There are two different ways to control it.
Beginners can use the included phone app to control speed, direction and responsiveness. Once you get the hang of balancing on it, you can even turn off the built in stabilization system and control it using your feet directly.
Unfortunately, this board will set you back a cool $16,000. If this is a little expensive for your taste, check out our hoverboard price guide and learn how you can get a wheeled model for as little as $350.