Hoverboards are no longer relegated to Hollywood and your wildest day dreams.
As Josh Lowensohn of The Verge tells it, they could actually help protect buildings from natural disasters.
Lowensohn recently jumped on the chance to test ride the Hendo, a prototype (the 18th, actually) of the hover technology — or maglev — developed by Greg Henderson and his company, Arx Pax. (Currently, this hoverboard is priced at $10,000 — way outside of Marty McFly’s budget.)
How does it work?
As Henderson explains, “A magnet has an electromagnetic field. It is equal in all areas. It has a north and a south pole. What if you were able to take that magnet, and organize the magnetic field so that it was only on one side? And then you combine that with other magnetic fields in a way that amplifies and focuses their strength? That’s magnetic field architecture.”
Henderson’s ambitions for maglev are less acrobatic and more pragmatic: He’s already secured a patent for hover engines in the foundation of a building, which, he envisions, would lift them to safety from catastrophic events, such as floods and earthquakes.
He also has his eyes set on using hover technology to improve air travel. “Planes may be not so obvious, but maglev assisted takeover is something all of the big airplane manufacturers are looking at because takeoff is where all the energy is used,” he says.
Arx Pax is hoping to raise $250,000 to bring the current prototype to the next level with their Kickstarter campaign. For a $10,000, you can preorder your very own board.
Arx Pax is also offering The WhiteBox Developer Kit for $299, which includes one of their hover engines that people are encouraged to take apart and engage in different uses for it. Their “goal is inspiring co-creation with the entire community of tinkerers and makers and outside thinkers,” Henderson says.
“I guarantee one thing: we’re going to be surprised at the results.”