Over the years there have been many hoverboard claims that have turned out to be hoaxes, but the new Hendo board is real. The board uses electromagnetic technology based on the same principles as a Maglev train, which means that at this time the board can only hover above certain non-ferrous metal surfaces such as aluminium or copper. As the technology requires special types of surfaces Hendo are using some of the money they raise from their Kickstarter campaign to create a “hoverpark”.
The Hendo board hovers around an inch off the ground and can support 300 pounds, and they claim that future versions will be able to hold up to 500 pounds. Hendo are also selling a product they’re calling the “The Whitebox,” which contains the same technology so that you can build whatever you want. A Whitebox developer kit can be purchased for $299, while the Whitebox+, which can be remotely controlled a mobile device, costs $899. For $10,000 the Hendo Hoverboard may be unaffordable, especially with its limitations of a hover surface, and its limited battery life. However, Hendo say the price of the technology will decrease rapidly, suggesting the price of a hoverboard could be affordable for many of us within the next 10 years. Hendo also claims the technology can be improved to hover over more materials in the future. On its own the hoverboard may not seem that significant to many of us, but the hover technology could have thousands of applications. Greg Henderson, co-founder of Hendo says “It came from the idea of hovering a building out of harm’s way, if you can levitate a train that weighs 50,000 kilograms, why not a house?” Hovercars may also one day be a possibility with this technology. This technology does have some competition though. NeoLev was a Kickstarter campaign that was successful in November 2013. Unlike the Hendo Hoverboard, NeoLev doesn’t require batteries, or even an engine. The pyrolytic graphite board hovers over a rare earth magnet base. NeoLev are currently only using the technology for a small desktop hovering board at this time, but could potentially be used to create larger boards in the future. It does require a magnetic base, so like the Hendo Hoverboard, it cannot be used on most surfaces. The NeoLev desktop hoverboard can be purchased at ThinkGeek for $39.99. ($29.99 sale price at time of publishing)