Urban Transport

Open-source hoverboard project seeks $1 million just to get started

Open-source hoverboard project...
A rendering of how the final product may look
A rendering of how the final product may look
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A concept rendering of the basic framework of the hoverboard
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A concept rendering of the basic framework of the hoverboard
A rendering of how the final product may look
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A rendering of how the final product may look
The Hoverboard Controller app as imagined by the creators of this Indiegogo project
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The Hoverboard Controller app as imagined by the creators of this Indiegogo project
The Hoverboard Controller app as imagined by the creators of this Indiegogo project
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The Hoverboard Controller app as imagined by the creators of this Indiegogo project

Ever since moviegoers watched in awe as Marty McFly sped along on a hoverboard in Back To The Future Part II, many of us have dreamed of having a real-life hoverboard of our own. Sadly no such product exists, but that hasn't stopped someone from dreaming of making it happen. To do so, they're asking for US$1 million on crowdfunding platform Indiegogo.

Haltek Industries believes "the world needs a Hoverboard," and that it's the company to build it. In order to do so, it needs $1 million to build a platform to catalog any advances made over the next few years, with form factors and power sources explored to find the best way forward. The ultimate aim is to launch the finished product in Q3 2015.

In other words, this is a plea for funding to the tune of $1 million to essentially just get the ball rolling on building a real-life working hoverboard. All that is being guaranteed is a website housing all of the data collected and prototypes tested, and a hoverboard controller app for mobile platforms.

The Hoverboard Controller app as imagined by the creators of this Indiegogo project
The Hoverboard Controller app as imagined by the creators of this Indiegogo project

People who contribute $10,000 or more will be "one of the first in the world to own a real working hoverboard" but the June 2015 delivery estimate could slip to ... well, your guess is as good as mine and, I suspect, the company's. Other perks include a miniature hoverboard for $1,000, $50 for voting rights on design choices, and $10 for access to the "development center" on the website.

Some of the technology needed to make a hoverboard become a reality does indeed exist. Two examples in particular are mentioned specifically in the proposal: Chris Malloy's prototype hoverbike, which uses omni-direction tubeaxial blowers to gain vertical lift; and IBM's lithium air batteries, which create energy from drawing in oxygen, potentially making them both light and powerful enough to provide a power source. But it's a leap of faith to cite two future projects not ready for primetime as a reason to believe in a third.

The $1 million needs to be raised by August 27 for the project to carry on. Those tempted to contribute should bear in mind the first line of the Indiegogo plea, "Probably impossible ... But certainly worth a try!" before parting with their cash.

Source: Indiegogo

17 comments
Sebastian Basaure
Oh boy... the guy that made the "the dipr - a spoon for dunking sandwich cookies" (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/rhaleluk/the-dipr-a-spoon-for-dunking-sandwich-cookies) actually thinks he can make a hoverboard... it smells like rip off... only smells, after all, he has credentials (NOPE.. he does not) http://www.linkedin.com/in/roberthaleluk nope... he is not the guy to the job, as a piece of advice: make a prototype, show it, THEN ask for money.. not the other way arround.
Matthew Adams
Very cool, I doubt it'll be funded sadly.
Joshua Smallwood
"Probably impossible ... But certainly worth a try!" I can pretty much 100% guarantee that it's impossible, so why is it worth a try? The recently developed Martin Jetpack is arguably the world's most compact human-levitating device, and it has a volume something like 20x what you'd need for a board. http://www.gizmag.com/martin-jetpack-investors/23793/
Nairda
Needs industrial mesh to cover the top and bottom of the blades to remove possibility of falling on to them if you loose you balance and fall. My only concern is stability with the center of mass (user) being higher then the blades. Would require something like a Segway gyro (or two) to keep it level. Would recommended a closed cycle rechargeable fuel cell for additional power density. One that could be recharged from the outlet overnight. I'm personally more in favor of the hover-bike concept with vertically aligned rotors and VTOL as the riding position provides better stability.
nutcase
I wish people would stop clogging up kickstarter with stupid render. Just because you have a copy of Inventor does not make you an inventor.
Daishi
There are electric bicycles in the $3,000 to $5,000 range and the amount of power needed to propel a bicycle forward is orders of magnitude smaller than what is needed to actually get you off the ground. Getting a person off the ground with a couple of 12" fans powered by a battery just isn't going to happen and especially not for $10k. He even mentions the battery technology he is looking at is under development and experimental and I suspect IBM is millions of dollars away from anything that would be ready for a consumer product. Having your small project depend on a major breakthrough in battery technology dooms it mostly right out the gate. There are other major issues as well. The stabilization firmware is going to require significant R&D alone, probably more than their budget. You cannot stabilize the platform using 2 fixed fans so the platform will need to move fans on more than one axis to make adjustments. The need for these joints limits space available for the battery. If you put your foot above a fan it will stop moving air too. Without first just building a lightweight version of the platform designed to support only itself they are biting off waay more than they can chew with platform intended to transport humans. AFAIK they are not under financial obligation to pay back the money if the project fails (and it will). Their goals are so unrealistic with the project they are pretty much just trying to con suckers out of $10,000 each.
revetahw
Agree with Joshua Smallwood. I would guess that even a very lightweight board would need at least 100kw of power to levitate you which is more than many cars. The smaller the rotor area, the more power you need. Probably compact turbofan engines like on a massenger jet would be the most realistic way to do it now and would burn massive amounts of fuel while still being much heavyer than the hoverboard suggested here and would of course be extremely expensive.
Thomas Lewis
100 years from now,maybe a discussion of how,we might be able to work within the laws of physics to build one,for now we should stick to enjoying the movie.
Pin
I also need $1 million to research and develop a hover... shoe. *spends 5 minutes with a calculator* Research complete. Time to book my flight to the Caribbean.
Gargamoth
If a guy who does not have a back ground in physics for building an anti gravitational hovering device is asking for a million bucks, then I'd like to ask for several billion for my new spaceship.