Far from being the dream gadget immortalised in 1989 sci-fi classic Back to the Future Part II, today's "hoverboards" are nothing more than self-balancing scooters that look idiotic to ride and are prone to spontaneously catching fire. However, one company has set out to right this injustice by developing a hoverboard that actually does what its name implies: it hovers.
The Hendo Hoverboard 2.0 is the latest effort by Silcon Valley's Arx Pax to develop a real-life, working hoverboard that Marty McFly could be proud of. While it's still some way off Robert Zemeckis' vision, it does at least live up to the underlying principle of a hoverboard in that it can levitate off the ground.
That being said, the Hendo 2.0 can only operate over a special copper surface, due to the board's reliance on electromagnets to keep it in the air – when an electric charge is passed through them, the magnets in the board place a repellent force on the conductive surface below, causing it to levitate. It's a similar principle to the hoverboard prototype Lexus came out with in 2015, which ran on a special magnetised track.
There's clearly some promise to the Hendo 2.0 as professional skateboarder Tony Hawk is providing input on how Arx Pax can bring the hoverboard closer to the dream, helping shape its design and even trying the thing out for himself. And, unlike in the 2014 HUVr hoax, Hawk's endorsement appears legitimate this time.
Arx Pax engineer Kyle O'Neil revealed that the company is now looking to bring its hovering technology to wider applications and even demonstrated a miniature Hyperloop-style model where it shot a small vehicle along the tube, which could signify it may play a part in the future of transportation.