Dreams can and do come true, before our very eyes science fiction is turning to fact one idea at a time. Levitating transportation is one such dream that has recently taken another step towards becoming an everyday reality, all thanks to the Henderson’s. American company Hendo Hover (Jill and Greg Henderson) and their Hover Engine present electromagnetic lift and propulsion in action, this is the Hoverboard, and this time it’s REAL.
As a technology demonstration platform the Hoverboard was an excellent choice up until Funny or Die pulled their HuvrBoard prank on the world. Tony Hawk is still shaking his head in disbelief that people believed the Funny or Die prank was real, now as you will see below the half pipe legend has teamed up with Hendo to present the REAL hoverboard, reparations anyone.
To say Hendo were annoyed by the Funny or Die HuvrBoard prank is an understatement, the timing was disastrously bad for the small company. The Hendo Hoverboard would just have to wait til the dust had settled on the fake hoverboard controversy. After 18 versions of the hoverboard Hendo went to Kickstarter to push the project on, now they only have 26 days to go on their Kickstarter project for the board, having nearly doubled their target the hoverboard looks to be go.
Providing the levitation and propulsion for the hoverboard is the Hover Engine that consists of 4 puck sized magnets and the control circuitry. The levitation aspect of the Hover Engine is actually the least amazing aspect of the technology; the biggest surprise is the ability to also propel itself in any direction and up an incline. Magnetic propulsion isn’t exactly new, monorails have been doing it for a while but this is however the first magnetic propulsion system of its kind. The first to use only one set of magnets to provide both lift and propulsion, no rail superconducting magnets required.
Having been burned before much of the internet is wondering if this is yet another hoax, thankfully there are no scientific leaps required for this hoverboard to work. All of Hendo’s technology is based on accepted electromagnetic theory and materials, their just putting the theories to a brand new use. There’s not even a superconductor in sight, just plain old electromagnetic repulsion and some very clever control technology. The Hoverboard does require a special surface to glide above however, any ferromagnetic material will do.
The Hoverboard while cool isn’t even the best product that Hendo have on offer, the Whitebox+ dev kit looks to be even more interesting. Designed from the outset to be tinkered with and adapted the Whitebox+ kit contains the same Hover Engine technology as used by the board and it can even be controlled via your smartphone.
How exactly the Hover Engine works is going to be a point of controversy in the future, but it does seem to work. Although the technology hasn’t been confirmed by any independent scientific groups as yet. According to the Kickstarter page at the core of the Hover Engine is the Magnetic Field Architecture that focus the opposing magnetic field generated by magnetic eddy currents that are created by the movement of magnets relative to a conducting material (Lenz’s law).
From the Hendo Kickstarter page “The magic behind the hoverboard lies in its four disc-shaped hover engines. These create a special magnetic field which literally pushes against itself, generating the lift which levitates our board off the ground.”
Now there is no doubt that the HoverBoard and Whitebox+ are real products but whether Hendo’s technology can deliver the promises it has made is still a little unclear and won’t be for at least another 26 days. Although seeing the Hoverboard in action does seem to suggest the technology is working well. Unlike Funny or Die’s fake Huvrboard Hendo is aiming to make a real product, one that may change the world.
Can Hendo open up an entirely new way to move about, will hovering cars and floating boxes be a part of our not too distant future? Only time will tell but here at Highpants we can’t wait.