Private aerospace company Arca has developed the first legitimate hoverboard, according to Gizmag. The ArcaBoard can manage speeds close to what a human could achieve while running, and can do it for a respectable six minutes at a time, making it the closest thing to the high-speed, levitating boards from Back to the Future: Part II that the world has seen so far.
— Mashable (@mashable) December 27, 2015
Images of the $20,000 Arca hoverboard have surfaced, showing a man riding the board, hovering an impressive foot or so above a highway in a desert tundra landscape.
The Arca hoverboard does not look quite like what sci-f filmmakers have predicted all these decades — it is chunky and box-like, without the sleek, curved edges movie-makers have usually imagined hoverboards would possess. The ArcaBoard looks more like a giant Lego piece than a sleek, aerodynamic vehicle, or a skateboard without wheels.
“Unlike the unicycle-skateboard combination that calls itself Hoverboard or the magnet-powered hoverboards created by Hendo and Lexus, ArcaBoard is said to actually hover and cruise up to a foot over any surface, be it concrete, sand or even water.”
Gizmag provides a look at the internal structure of the board, which hovers with the help of a pod of downward-facing turbines and fans. It is powered by LiPo batteries.
There are a total 36 high power electric ducted fans inside the boxy hoverboard, according to the Beacon Examiner. A maximum thrust of 430 pounds can be delivered, and the 272 horsepower capability is “enough to propel you across land, water, snow or ice” according to designers at Arca. A version for heavier riders that can levitate for up to three minutes has also been developed.
The boards are equipped with built-in stabilizers to ensure that easy rides and smooth landings are achievable for beginners — useful, considering that few people in the world will have had practice balancing on a board quite like this.
YOU could have a hoverboard, the "Arcaboard" for $20k. I think I'll wait. https://t.co/m8VWrRfzmk
— Jonathan Sackett (@JonathanSackett) December 28, 2015
Arca has released a video showing the boards in action. Riders teeter on the structures as they levitate slowly, extending their arms and adjusting their feet gingerly on the board as it rises into the air, while a voice-over speaks loftily of man’s desire for “freedom” and “speed.”
“For its size, the ArcaBoard is probably the most powerful personal vehicle ever created in history.”
Other features of the new boards are a group of sensors that help to maintain a 30 cm levitation above ground. The sensors also limit a rider’s speed to 20 km/h. An “ArcaDock” extra (similar to an ipod dock) reduces charging times down to a mere 35 minutes, allowing the hoverboards to be refreshed and ready for reuse when they have exhausted their six minute ride limit.
Waltonian questioned whether a six minute ride is worth a $20,000 investment. According to the reviewer,
“The hoverboard by Arca Space is for sale at $19,900, as estimated by the Northern Californian. That’s right; after six minutes, you’ll be sitting back on solid ground. Consumers are now able to pre-order it for $19,900 and shipping is scheduled for April 2016. However, you can purchase the ArcaDock accessory that will charge the battery in just 35 minutes for an extra $4,500″.
The stability system can also be disabled and one’s own body weight could be used to steer the board according to the user’s wish. “For the first time, every person will be able to fly anytime, anywhere,” reads the company website.
Many on social media were impressed with the fact that laws have had to be introduced to cover the activities of the small number of hoverboard riders who may be hitting our streets and parks in the coming years.
Hoverboard laws exist Let that sink in
— Tyler Iacøna (@tyleriacona) December 28, 2015
Some are already dreaming up viral video possibilities involving hoverboards and drones, envisioning a world where machines turn on each other.
Ultimate 2015 Christmas: GoPro video of a guy on a hoverboard getting attacked by a drone #MakeithappenInternet
— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) December 27, 2015
Are you impressed with the new hoverboard technology?
— The Verge (@verge) December 27, 2015
[Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images]