In 2015, the “hoverboard” took off as the newest mobility gadget, but for many it was missing a critical component – hovering. Now, the ArcaBoard promises to be the hoverboard people hoped for when they first watched Back to the Future, allowing people to fly through the air. Of course, there are a few shortcomings.
For one, it costs $19,900 – making it out of the range of most consumers. According to Verge, the website won’t even let a potential buyer fulfill an order online.
Likewise, it only hovers for about six minutes. Afterwards, it takes about six hours to recharge with the included charger, according to PC Magazine. (If the buyer forks out another $4,500, they can get a more efficient charger that will get the ArcaBoard up and running in about 35 minutes.) And, if the video is any indication, it doesn’t fly very high. It appears to reach altitudes as high as one foot.
Finally, it looks like a floating green air-mattress.
But those drawbacks didn’t prevent ArcaBoard’s creators from being very serious about their new invention in the release video featured below.
The company’s website is equally self-congratulating.
“For the first time since the bicycle, automobile or airplane, the ArcaBoard is a revolutionary breakthrough for transportation. For the first time, every person will be able to fly anytime, anywhere. The world, your world, will change forever.”
The unusual presentation and seemingly unaffordable price tag have earned the ArcaBoard a lot of skepticism from the tech community. Engadget gave a complete rundown on why the hoverboard will most likely never ship out, despite promises from the company to start sending pre-orders April 2016.
That being said, the ArcaBoard does hover, which is more than most “hoverboards” can say.
The concept is simple – lots of high-powered fans. 36 fans that produce 430 pounds of thrust (272 horsepower). There is also a balancing device that provides some stability for the user, but the website says that more adventurous riders can turn that off and control the direction using their bodyweight.
The video doesn’t show much of how or how effectively the ArcaBoard can be controlled. Instead, it appears to meander aimlessly. There’s no risk of flying off too quickly though; the hoverboard’s built-in software prevents it from going faster than 12.5 mph.
The ArcaBoard may have many, many flaws, but there’s not much competition out there in the real hoverboard market. Lexus designed the “Slide” board, but it also has major compromises to the promise of Back to the Future.
For one, it requires a magnetic track to run on, whereas the ArcaBoard can go anywhere for a limited time. Likewise, the Slide board lasts about 20 minutes, spews nitrogen gas, and is not being manufactured for consumers. Here’s a fuller description of that board from the Verge.
Then there’s the Hendo from a company called Arx Pax, which is a veteran of the hovering hoverboard industry. The company released details on the newest Hendo back in October after getting about half a million dollars on Kickstarter.
The Hendo has it’s own set of drawbacks, including the fact that it can only ride on a copper floor. For $10,000 that product has also received a fair bit of criticism.
Of course, hoverboard nowadays means something very different from the ArcaBoard. It’s the terrestrial riding device common in many malls. But, as previously reported by The Inquisitr, those hoverboards are also coming with a new set of restrictions from state and local governments.
If it is more than just vaporware, ArcaBoard still has some impressive engineering to get 36 fans to work in sync. It might not sell very well, but at least, it does hover.
[Image via Arca Space Corporation/Youtube]