Is 2015 The Year Of The Hoverboard?

Val Powell

When the Hendo Hoverboard doubled more than what it is expected to earn from their highly successful Kickstarter campaign, fans were excited about the possibility of having the technology from the Back to the Future finally come to life. However, Hendo's innovation isn't necessarily for cruising down the street while being chased by a gang of no-good hoverboard thugs.

Hendo's hoverboard runs on maglev technology that their company, Arx Pax, made. Just like in an air hockey table, the technology uses magnets to allow the structure to hover over the ground. It also requires a special metallic surface to run on, shutting down the possibilities of enjoying this outdoors.

After the initial launch of the product that included a feature of pro-skater Tony Hawk trying out the product, people started noticing that this innovation isn't nearly as close to its fictional counterpart. Even Arx Pax admits that the technology is merely a publicity stunt to create support for their company's future endeavors that focus more on building foundation systems.

Hendo isn't the only one building a hoverboard. During last year's Tokyo Engineering Society Festival in Japan, Toyota employees also designed a working hoverboard that's lighter and more inexpensive.

Unlike Hendo's hoverboard, the one from Toyota uses compressed air to hover above the ground. Toyota's hoverboard also shares a few problems with the Hendo, like the noise issues. The big difference between the two lies on the fact that Toyota's can hover anywhere and not just on top of metallic surfaces.

While self-driving cars and WiFi-enabled appliances seem to be popping up left and right, the hoverboard still needs a lot of work. During last year's CES, the spokesperson for World Future Society said that the technology for hoverboards might be right under our noses. "A flying drone is a great example of a hoverboard that does not need a person," Tucker said. He revealed how the popularity of drones could lead to the production of lighter and more efficient hoverboards.

Right now, the hoverboards from Hendo and Toyota still lack the proper power source to ensure that the riders could get to their respective destination. While Marty McFly's hoverboard ran on fuel, today's version can only rely on large batteries that add to the bulk. There's a possibility that fusion technology will reach the mainstream this year, but it would still need years of development to fit the application.

This year, however, 11 fans who pledged $10,000 during the Hendo's Kickstarter campaign will get their hands on the world's first real hoverboard and its developer kit soon. The technology is here, but it will take years to mass-produce an innovation like this.

[Image via YouTube]