What is a hoverboard?

Makers have been attempting to create a working hoverboard since Marty McFly introduced us to the concept in Back to the Future II, but with little success until now.

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Hendo is the first real hoverboard: a skateboard-like device that allows the rider to levitate about 1 inch off the ground.

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Hendo is one of Time’s 25 inventions of 2014. Photo via Time.

See the Hendo hoverboard in action:

An Architect’s Vision

“The scientific breakthroughs generated at Arx Pax will make the impossible possible, inspire co-creation on a global scale, and ultimately create meaningful change in the world.” -Greg Henderson, Arx Pax Founder

Greg Henderson, a Bay Area architect, engineer, and former US Army Ranger, was determined to find a better way to protect buildings against earthquakes. He developed technology that, when utilized at a large scale, would employ electromagnetic fields to raise a building out of harm’s way. Greg also realized that at a smaller scale, the same technology could be useful for a variety of applications—from transportation to manufacturing.

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Greg, along with his wife Jill, founded Arx Pax in 2012 with big plans to revolutionize the way we build buildings in the future. They assembled a team of engineers and experts who believe in their vision, and set out to capture people’s attention through their first product: a hoverboard.

The Hendo Hoverboard

Arx Pax spent the past few years designing and developing a prototype of their board, and now have an impressive working model. The Hendo hoverboard only works over certain magnetic surfaces, and thus has limited immediate applications but unlimited potential.

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Hendo sketches and concepts. Photo via Verge.

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Early Hendo prototypes. The circular discs are the board’s engines. Photo via Gizmodo.

Design development sketches:

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Design Development. Image via My Modern Met.

The current version will continue to undergo refinements over the next year. Potential improvements will be a smaller and more stylish appearance, quieter engines, and the ability to board the hoverboard before it begins levitating.

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Hendo Engineer Garrett Foshay testing a current model. Photo by AP/Jeff Chiu.

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Hendo engineer Shauna Moran demonstrating alternate poses. Photo by AP/Jeff Chiu.

Through a combination of crowd funding and open sourcing, the Hendo team has invited anyone who’s interested to take part in their project. They launched a Kickstarter campaign in October 2014, with a goal is to ship a very small batch of hoverboards in 2015, as well as many more developer kits. The Whitebox developer kits allow any maker to build upon their technology, as developers can take the engine out and experiment with creating their own hovering devices.

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The Whitebox developer kit in action. Photo via Verge.

The hoverboard has certainly been successful at capturing people’s attention and imagination, especially with high-profile riders such as Tony Hawk. Check out this video of Tony on the Hendo:

Buzz Aldrin also payed Hendo a recent visit, and became the first man to both walk on the moon and hover over the earth on a hoverboard. “We had the incredible honor of meeting a true American hero and individual [Aldrin] who personifies Hendo’s intrepid spirit of “daring to wonder,” says Hendo.

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Buzz Aldrin on the Hendo. Photo via Autodesk.

For the first time in history, you can levitate and ride above the ground in a way that was previously only possible in the movies. We can’t wait to see what else the world’s makers will create with this exciting technology.

Reserve a developer kit.

Meet the Makers

Greg Henderson
Co-Founder & CEO
Jill Henderson
Co-Founder & CCO
Mitch Dougherty
Design Engineer
Victor Espinoza
Designer
Davida Ewan
Marketing
Garrett Foshay
Engineer
Jim Janicki
Operations
Brian Jones
Sales + Marketing
Ryan Miller
Chief of Staff
Shauna Moran
Engineer
Guy Noffsinger
Creative
David P. Olynick PhD
R&D + Legal
Kyle O'Neil
Engineer
Lindsey Pollock
Creative Director
Samantha Reed
Operations
David Rosshirt
Strategy
David Sanghera
Product Strategy
Thomas Senkel
Engineering

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3 founders - gigaom