Almost a year ago, we rode the Hendo hoverboard, developed by parent company Arx Pax. Though undeniably cool, it was a prototype — the hoverboard was bulky, hard to “steer,” loud, and had a short battery life. Now, Hendo is announcing that the next iteration of that prototype, one that addresses all these problems, will arrive just in time for Back to the Future day (October 21st of this year).
The new board, which Arx Pax is calling the Hendo 2.0 Hoverboard, is reportedly more like a floating skateboard than ever, thanks in large part to input from legendary boarder Tony Hawk. For one, the new hoverboard has trucks like a skateboard does — the hover engines pivot the way trucks do to allow more steering and control. “By using the skateboard truck we’re actually able to reorient those magnetic fields and point them in the direction you want to go,” Arx Pax co-founder and CEO Greg Henderson told me over the phone. “Lean right, go right.”
Hendo has also made the hover engines much smaller and energy efficient. While I was only able to ride the hoverboard for a few minutes before it died, Henderson says that the new batteries and engines should combine for a much longer ride. “The hoverboard now…will outlast pretty much any hoverboard rider,” Henderson told me, referring to the surprisingly difficult core workout that is balancing on a cushion of magnetism.
Though there is a new version of the Hendo Hoverboard, there is still no release date — you won’t be Marty Mcfly anytime soon. One reason is Arx Pax does more than make hoverboards. The company is looking to license its hover technology for application in the industrial and transportation sectors, as well as in space. And so, the Hendo hoverboards are a fun application of technology that needs a bit more funding and growth before you can grab one at a Best Buy.
Now that the patents have come through, Henderson also told me (finally) how the hover engines actually work. Put simply, the engines rotate permanent magnets to create a changing magnetic field. This flux creates an opposing magnetic field in a conductive surface underneath. The magnetic battle results in hovering.
Even without a release date, we may be getting a hoverboard playground sooner than we think, thanks to Hendo investors. “A couple of the hoverboard buyers already formed companies,” Henderson told me. “One in particular in Auckland, New Zealand is very interested in developing a business.” For a “hoverpark” specifically, the only additional infrastructure that an existing skate park would need to make it hoverable, for example, would be a layer of copper or aluminum on the concrete.
“It’s very likely that the world’s first hover park may be in New Zealand.”
IMAGES: Arx Pax