The ever-widening world of hoverboards has a new player on the map, a rectangular rideable known as the “ArcaBoard.“ Unlike its predecessors (such as the Hendo hoverboard), this personal flight craft isn’t powered by magnetic fields, but rather by an array of high-powered fans. The much simpler tech has some pros and cons, so we’ve broken it down for you.
Made painfully clear in the promo video, the most blatant con of this machine is low stability. It does reportedly have an internal stabilization mechanism – controllable via your smartphone – but no matter how you slice it, balancing atop a 180-pound plastic box while 36 fans quite literally blow you into the air isn’t going to be easy. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t master it, and for the $19,900 price tag, we hope anyone thinking about buying this board is ready to devote their life to practicing. (So long, Fallout 4. And thanks for all the fish).
And speaking of that lens-flare-packed cinematic ad, let’s jump to the topic of “flying over land and sea.” Using fans does mean the ArcaBoard can traverse any surface (something superconductor devices like Lexus’ Luxury Hoverboard can’t do), but a six minute flight time – or a mere three if you’re on the heftier side – means you’re better suited to jumping puddles than oceans. Should you want to dig deeper into those pockets, you can purchase a rapid charging station, capable of getting you airborne again in about 30 minutes, for an additional $4,500.
There’s also the issue of noise. In its current state, the ArcaBoard puts out 92 decibel sound – a level which Purdue University warns could cause permanent damage after just eight hours of exposure. (For comparison, a power mover emits roughly 100 dB). This could be solved by wearing protective ear gear, but it’s important to mention.
But it’s not all bad. The board’s 36 electric ducted fans can create up to 272 horsepower and 430 lb (195 kg) of thrust. In theory, what this means is that you can cruise somewhere in the 20 kmh (12.5 mph) range. That’s certainly faster than other boards that are soon to hit the market, and with a one-foot maximum, the ArcaBoard can also fly much higher than its competition. There’s one more pro to this expensive contraption, being that you can actually buy one, with delivery expected in April 2016.
This is only the first go-round, and it’s likely we’ll see a quieter, lighter, model with better battery life emerge from Arca’s labs in the future. Not to mention that the lower tech is inherently more hackable than other devices. As for buying the prototype? For nearly twenty grand, you could be half way to a TRON LightCycle. Just saying.
Check out more images of the ArcaBoard in the gallery below.