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Will Crowdfunding Produce the World’s First Working Hoverboard?

by Paul Strauss

There have been many attempts to recreate the design of the Hoverboards from Back to the Future II, but none of them have been functional. Now, there’s a project which just kicked off with hopes of creating an actual, working Hoverboard by the Summer of 2015 – the same time period that Marty visits in the movie.

hoverboard_1

With the goal of creating the world’s first production Hoverboard, Robert Haleluk of Haltek Industries has embarked on an Open Source, crowdfunding project.

Assuming it can actually be produced, the real world Hoverboard won’t look quite like the ones in the movies, in order to accomodate a propulsion system. According to project leader Robert Haleluk, the Hoverboard will be powered by omni-directional tubeaxial blowers – similar to the ones we saw in the Aerofex Hover Bike.

hoverboard_2

The boards would be constructed from a honeycomb carbon fiber to keep weight to a minimum. In terms of power source, Haleluk is looking at two promising new lightweight battery technologies – a Lithium-Air battery in development by IBM with the goal of powering a car for up to 500 miles on a single charge or a unique energy device being researched by Stanford which can store power in a sheet of paper with special ink infused with carbon nanotubes and silver nanowires. Of course, neither of these technologies is in production yet, so that certainly creates a risk factor for the Hoverboard project. Current off-the-shelf battery technologies would likely be insufficient to lift a passenger for any meaningful period of time.

Should the Hoverboard project come to fruition, the boards would interface with a companion smartphone app, which would provide the ability to lock and unlock the board, turn it on, and run diagnostics among other things.

hoverboard_app

In order to fund the development of the Hoverboard, Haleluk has set up an Indiegogo campaign with a funding goal of $1 million (USD). These funds will be used for research, development and production of the first Hoverboards. While a bid of $10,000 or more is required if you want to end up with an actual Hoverboard, lower pledges will be used to further research and development efforts.

Naturally, a project like this is fraught with risks for investors, and there’s a good chance that the end result will be less than stellar. But for those of us who have dreamed of seeing the futuristic vision of floating skateboards come to fruition during our lifetimes, it could be pretty exciting if it actually works out – and we’ll never know if they don’t try.




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