Next week Bay Area startup company Arx Pax will introduce the world to a new and improved hoverboard. It’s smaller, sleeker, easier to ride, quieter than the original and its motor might one day power a high tech transportation system.
Powered by new more powerful magnetic hover engines, the Hendo 2.0 hoverboard is set to launch October 21, 2015, the day Marty and Doc Brown arrived in the future in the movie Back To The Future II.
The company raised $500,000 with a Kickstarter campaign and spent the last year developing their new and improved hover engines powered with Magnetic Field Architecture. During their fundraising campaign, they pre-sold 10 Hendo 2.0 hoverboards for $10,000 each.
The company’s first hoverboard design was bulky and noisy with a large deck that made it hard to steer, although it did manage to levitate riders a few inches off the ground if only for a few minutes.
The new Hendo 2.0 hoverboard inspired by skateboard legend Tony Hawk is smaller and lighter with better controls and has a longer lasting battery. It’s powered by four oval shaped engines underneath the board, which create a magnetic field that keeps the board from touching the ground.
Arx Pax co-founder and CEO Greg Henderson told Wired the new design and smaller deck makes the Hendo 2.0 more like a normal skateboard and easier for users to ride.
“We’re using visual cues to make it operate as much like a skateboard as we can. We have a slightly longer version, a 36-inch board that’s about 10-inches wide, and it’s got the front and rear kick tails. You’re able to use those to more efficiently shift your weight around.”
The Hendo 2.0 hoverboard is also built with traditional skateboard trucks that allows users to steer it like they would a skateboard.
“If you want to turn right on a skateboard, you lean to your right, and the trucks rotate slightly. And that little bit of rotation changes our force vectors. Skateboarders understand how trucks work, so essentially our Kickstarter backers will be able to modify them and change the trucks to their liking for harder or softer turning radiuses.”
With a price tag of $10,000, however, the hoverboards might not be flying off the shelves.
That’s OK with Henderson because the big news is the magnetic technology for the hoverboard’s engines could be used by NASA to capture and move satellites in space without the need to physically touch them. The magnetic tethers would remove the risk of a crash in space.
The same magnetic engines that lift the hoverboard off the ground could also be used in Elon Musk’s Hyperloop. The hover engines could play an integral part of upcoming tests in which teams design and build test pods for the proposed high-speed transportation system.
The Space X competition that will test Elon Musk’s Hyperloop is already heating up with teams designing equipment that would shoot pods over a 1 mile track in Los Angeles.
Arx Pax isn’t actually interested in getting into the hoverboard business. It designed the engines as a proof of concept for their technology. They are, however, looking for other companies to take their technology and run with it.
The company pictures hoverboards as part of a possible future X-Games and they’ve already contacted a team from New Zealand interested in the concept, Henderson told the San Francisco Chronicle.
“Who knows whatever sports people are going to come up with. It could be a new extreme sport.”
[Photo from Futurepedia]