Urban Transport

ArcaBoard: The first real hoverboard?

ArcaBoard: The first real hove...
The board is said to be limited to speeds on par with running
The board is said to be limited to speeds on par with running
View 6 Images
A tear-down view of the ArcaBoard
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A tear-down view of the ArcaBoard
36 high-powered fans give the board its lift
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36 high-powered fans give the board its lift
The ArcaBoard, reportedly being tested in New Mexico
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The ArcaBoard, reportedly being tested in New Mexico
A rapid charging dock powers up the board in a claimed 35 minutes
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A rapid charging dock powers up the board in a claimed 35 minutes
A tear-down view of the ArcaBoard
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A tear-down view of the ArcaBoard
The board is said to be limited to speeds on par with running
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The board is said to be limited to speeds on par with running
View gallery - 6 images

For decades now we've been teased with hoverboard concepts, either from science fiction or highly limited real-life versions, but now aerospace company Arca is taking orders for what it claims is the real deal. The ArcaBoard appears to be the closest thing to the technology from Back to the Future: Part II that we've seen so far.

Unlike the unicycle-skateboard combination that calls itself Hoverboard or the magnet-powered hoverboards created by Hendo and Lexus, ArcaBoard is said to actually hover and cruise up to a foot over any surface, be it concrete, sand or even water.

There's reason to believe the ArcaBoard is for real, unlike the HUVr hoax from 2014 that Christopher Lloyd and Tony Hawk perpetrated on us. First off, Arca started as a Romanian NGO and was awarded contracts for work on stratospheric rockets and balloons by the Romanian government and the European Space Agency. Since then, the company participated in the Google Lunar X Prize, released high-end drones and has recently relocated to the US, where it announced the release of the ArcaBoard on Christmas Eve.

Besides the company's track record, ArcaBoard is also believable because its specs aren't exactly too good to be true.

To create enough lift, the board is packed with 36 high-power electric ducted fans creating up to 272 horsepower and 430 lb (1913 N) of thrust. The batteries that provide the juice for all that power last a maximum of six minutes on the lightweight version and three minutes on the ArcaBoard designed for heavier riders.

So this isn't exactly the right vehicle for commuting just yet, especially when you consider that top speed is limited to 20 km/h (12.5 mph).

The ArcaBoard can reportedly be controlled with the rider's body or via a Bluetooth-connected iOS or Android app that activates a stabilization system and relays navigation commands via hand movements.

The board itself looks something like a giant, clunky skateboard built from composite materials, measuring 145 x 76 x 15 cm (57 x 30 x 6 inches). Don't expect to be popping an ArcaBoard in your backpack a la Marty McFly, either, as it weighs 82 kg (180 lb) on its own. Chris Lang, the company's Chief Operating Officer, tells Gizmag that it could be carried by two people.

A tear-down view of the ArcaBoard
A tear-down view of the ArcaBoard

Despite having a range per charge of only 2 km (or a little over a mile), the ArcaBoard will set you back more than some cars, with a starting retail price of US$19,900. It requires six hours to recharge the board with a regular outlet, but if you purchase the ArcaDock rapid charging accessory for another $4,500, you can reportedly have it up and hovering again in just 35 minutes.

Hey, we never said it would be cheap to be one of the coolest early adopters in your neighborhood.

Arca is taking orders now for both versions of the ArcaBoard and the ArcaDock, with delivery expected in April 2016. "We have made two complete units," Lang tells us. "One green and one beige. The third is blue, and is under construction."

We'll be watching this one with interest.

The board can (apparently) be seen in action, in the video below.

Source: Arca

The Making of ArcaBoard

View gallery - 6 images
34 comments
Juan de la Cruz
"Freedom?" "All your dreams come true?" Holy crap, it's the worst product video I have ever seen! And spinning in circles? Yea, that'll set you free. LOL!
Derek Howe
Yuck. No thanks. This things range is pathetic, it's size is huge, and looks very wobbly. When people thing of amazing future tech, hoverboards come to mind...but they look like the one Lexus made....not this giant hunk of crap.
mhpr262
Maybe it can do double duty as a leaf blower.
blue_monk
@ those guys that complain about this being too big or whatever: Check out the first computer and then look at those you can buy nowadays.
El Bonko
@blue_monk Early computers were monstrosities that took up entire buildings and drew immense amounts of power, but they had very real applications. This does not. It's just an overpriced, underperforming toy.
Derek Howe
Yup, not the same as comparing to computers. This thing can only get so small, since it needs all those fans to lift you, and batteries take up a decent amount of space. If I was in the market for a revolutionary way to travel, it wouldn't be on a very load flattened lego. Actually, it would probably be that new jetpack that was shown off last month, now THAT was cool.
RaduBM
For some reasons, most of my geeky romanian compatriots sound like russians speaking english in Schwarzenegger movies. They also tend to stuff up presentation movies. Most of the times. However, these guys, ARCA, really managed to get to space or near-space, basically with scrap metal, while competing for funds with our shitty national space agency. Remember ENIAC? Things can only get better!
Timelord
Why is something considered a "Hoverboard" candidate only if it has a visible gap to the ground? Why not a Hoverboard that's essentially a small hovercraft, complete with air cushion skirt? Are hovercraft not hovering? That would still give it the ability to move on all surfaces, including water, which Marty's Hoverboard couldn't do. Better yet, add a fan to the back, like an airboat, and never have to push with your feet.
iperov
204kwt, 36 fans, = 5.6kwt per fan. But most powerful EDF from hobbyking is 2.8kwt.
MagusLeftRight
Wow this is a great start!!! And I just happened to be at the Organ Mountains in Las Cruces yesterday!