HoverBoards Technology

Posted On:2016-03-12    Category: Technology Trends
HoverBoards Technology


Hendo Hoverboard

The Hendo hoverboard came out some time last year. It might not be just like the one in Back to the Future II, but at least Tony Hawk rode it.

 The Hendo engine uses electromagnets that produce changing magnetic fields to interact with a conducting surface. Basically when these electromagnets change the magnetic field that produces an electric current in the metallic surface underneath the hoverboard. This electric current then produces its own magnetic field to repel the hoverboard electromagnets. Although the idea seems straightforward, it’s difficult to get it to work in real life.

It’s clearly a skateboard that hovers. That’s pretty awesome.

 The primary problem with this hoverboard is that it only hovers over a conducting surface. If you put this over water, the electromagnets would still make changing magnetic fields but without an electric conductor below it there would be no repulsion. The other small problem is that it doesn’t ride like a skateboard. Hopefully this can change with the help of Tony Hawk.

The Lexus Hoverboard

Yes, it’s true. Lexus made a hoverboard. It really works too. I’m still not sure why they did it.

 Again, this hoverboard uses magnetic fields. Instead of changing magnetic fields from an electromagnet, the Lexus hoverboard uses superconductors. When a superconductor is placed near a magnet, you can get a levitation effect. The magnets are in the ground and the superconductor is inside the board.

 This board is awesome because it’s much smaller than either the Hendo or the Omni hoverboard (at least for now). It looks the most like a skateboard that also hovers.

 Just like the Hendo, this board also requires a special surface to ride it on. It doesn’t work over water or any other surface that doesn’t already have magnets embedded in the ground. Another drawback is the superconducting magnets. Superconductors need to be very cold in order to have the levitating properties. This means that you need to add something like liquid nitrogen (-320°F or 77K) to keep them cold. You can see the water vapor condensing in the air from the very cold magnets. That gives a cool look but you would have to keep adding liquid nitrogen as you ride.

Omni Hoverboard

For all hoverboards, you need some upward force to push against the gravitational force. For the Omni hoverboard, this upward force is from the air. The props push air downward resulting in an upward force on the rotors.  Just like a helicopter, you can move both up and down as well as side to side. If you don’t think this flies like a hoverboard, I don’t think you will find anything better.The Omni hoverboard has two major flaws. First is the flight time. Since this is essentially like an electric powered quadcopter, it needs a battery. Batteries are heavy, so you can only power the propellers for a couple of minutes of flight time. Second, this thing looks super dangerous. What if you crash into a pedestrian standing on the ground.