Hoverboard

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Hoverboard
Plot element from the Back to the Future film series
Publisher Amblin Entertainment
First appearance Back to the Future Part II (1989)
Created by Robert Zemeckis
Genre Science fiction
In-story information
Type Transportation, toy
Function Personal transportation similar to a skateboard, but using an unknown means of levitation instead of wheels.

A Hoverboard (or hover board) is a levitating board used for personal transportation in the films Back to the Future Part II and Back to the Future Part III. Hoverboards resemble a skateboard without wheels. Through special effects the film-makers depicted the boards hovering above the ground. During the 1990s there were rumors, fuelled by director Robert Zemeckis,[1] that hoverboards were in fact real, but not marketed because they were deemed too dangerous by parents' groups. These rumors have been conclusively debunked.[1] Some companies hoping to leverage the commercial success of the movies have marketed hovercraft vehicles as hoverboards, but these products have not been shown to replicate the experience depicted in the movies. Subsequent to the movies the hoverboard concept has been reused by many authors in various forms of media in fictional universes not directly related to Back to the Future. An inventor has created a prototype, magnetic hoverboard, the first of its kind outside of fiction able to provide an experience similar to those in films, though only as a levitating skateboard; currently, as the new hoverboard is a prototype researched and developed by individuals rather than significant companies, it is limited by technological and financial constraints.

Real world[edit]

Several companies have drawn on hovercraft technology to attempt and create hoverboard-like products but none have demonstrated similar experiences to those depicted in films.

Rumors circulated in 2001 that inventor Dean Kamen's new invention, codenamed Ginger, was a transportation device resembling the Hoverboard. In reality Ginger was the Segway Human Transporter, a self-balancing two-wheeled electric transportation device.

In 2004, Jamie Hyneman and his team built a makeshift hovercraft for MythBusters, dubbed the Hyneman Hoverboard, from a surfboard and leafblower. However, Jamie's hoverboard was not very effective.

In 2005, Jason Bradbury created a "hoverboard" for The Gadget Show, using a wooden board that was levitated by means of a leafblower. The original design was not propelled and could also not be steered. In 2009, a second version was made which was propelled/steered by a small jet engine (rather than a fan as with an air boat), and also contained 2 (more powerful) leafblowers.

In 2011, French artist Nils Guadagnin has created a hoverboard that floats by magnetic repulsion between it and its base but cannot carry a load. The board includes a laser system which ensures stabilization, in addition to an electromagnetic system which makes the levitation possible.[2][3]

In October 2011, a French university, l'université Paris Diderot, presented the "Mag surf", a superconducting device which levitates 3 cm above two magnetized repulsing floor rails and can carry up to 100 kg.[4]

In March 2014, a company called HUVr claimed to have developed the technology for hoverboards and released a video advertising the product on YouTube featuring Christopher Lloyd, Tony Hawk, Moby, Terrell Owens and others riding hoverboards through a parking lot in Los Angeles. Special effect failures such as incomplete wire removal have conclusively identified the video as a hoax or joke, traced to the Funny or Die website through identification of the cast and public references to the project.[5] Funny or Die later posted a video featuring Christopher Lloyd "apologizing" for the hoax.[6]

In October 2014, inventor Greg Henderson demonstrated a prototype hoverboard working on a magnetic levitation principle. Similar to maglev trains, the hoverboard requires a surface of non-ferromagnetic metal such as copper or aluminum to function, carrying up to 300 pounds while hovering one inch above the surface. Four engines were used to power the magnetic levitation, with the option of applying thrust and spin to the board under user control. The prototype was promoted in a campaign on Kickstarter the day of the news coverage, with a price of $10,000 for the first boards.[7][8][9] The New York Times said that although the board worked, Greg Henderson had no personal interest in skateboarding and that the kickstarter was "basically a publicity stunt", designed to call attention to Hendo's magnetic levitation technology which Henderson was more interested in using for other applications, such as an emergency maglev mechanism capable of raising buildings from their foundations to protect them from earthquakes. Henderson was quoted as saying, "That’s why we picked the hoverboard: to capture that attention. If one in 10 people realize there is another use for this stuff, that would be a great success."[10]

Popular culture[edit]

Film and television[edit]

  • Back to the Future trilogy: Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) rides a hoverboard in Back to the Future Part II (1989). In Part III, Doc Brown rides the hoverboard to rescue Clara from falling off the locomotive.
  • Da Ali G Show: On an episode, Ali G meets with institutional investors and suggests that they begin to market a hoverboard (which was just a skateboard with the trucks and wheels removed).
  • Doom Runners (1997): This made-for-TV Nickelodeon movie has hoverboards with sails.
  • Futuresport: In this made-for-TV movie, the contestants use hoverboards.
  • Kyle XY: In the season 3 episode "Welcome to Latnok", Kyle builds a hoverboard to win $50,000 in a science contest to pay for Nicole Trager's hospital bill as a result of what happened in the previous episode, entitled "Life Support".
  • Spider-Man 3 (2007): Harry Osborn when using the alias New Goblin uses a Goblin Glider/hoverboard called the "Sky Stick".
  • Masters of the Universe (1987): many of the key characters use a disk shape hoverboard called a "Sky sled".
  • Dear Science (2012) is a song by Australian hip-hop artist Seth Sentry. Dear Science is a song with the key subject matter being hoverboards - and science's lack of progress regarding them.
  • Highlander II: The Quickening (1991): The two henchmen of Katana, who are ordered by Katana to kill McCloud, are using hoverboards.
  • The pilot episode for "A to Z" (2014) features the main character Andrew having a long time obsession with finding the truth about hoverboards after watching the actual Zemeckis interview. He ends up running into Lea Thompson at a Back to the Future trilogy screening, where she tells him that there are no hoverboards. During the end credits however, Lea rides a Hoverboard coming from the living room to the kitchen making a stop at the refrigerator then leaving.

Video games[edit]

  • Airblade was based completely around a hoverboard using next-generation anti-gravity technology.
  • Air Boarder 64 was based on many types of hoverboards using anti-gravity technology and allowed players to hover over land, snow, water as well as pull off many stunts like grinds, lip stalls, manuals, poles.
  • Anarchy Online: In October 2007, this MMORPG introduced hoverboards into the game as part of a system where subscribers can pay cash money to purchase in-game items.
  • Super Back to the Future II
  • Back to the Future Part II & III - Nintendo Entertainment System. In this game you play as Marty who can find a hoverboard and ride it which makes him invincible to any enemy for a short time before it wears off. Also you have to find the hoverboard item as one of the 30 missing puzzle pieces.
  • Back to the Future II – Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, DOS, ZX Spectrum
  • Back To The Future: The Game: 2010 episodic game based on the Back to the Future trilogy released in 5 episodes from December 2010 to June 2011 by Telltale Games. The hoverboard was used in the final episode to stop Edna from escaping in a Delorean whilst being chased by Marty and Doc in their Delorean.
  • Beambreakers: In this computer game of Flying hovercars. you can see a billboard advertising a hoverboard from HoverTec.
  • Eyetoy antigrav A playstation 2 game where you can use your Eyetoy camera to control your character on a hoverboard. It is a hoverboard racing game where you race against other players, do trickstyle hoverboard tricks and dodge flying hovercars and get to the finish.
  • Final Fantasy VIII: The character Zell Dincht is briefly seen riding a hoverboard-like device called T-Board.
  • Fusionfall: In this MMORPG, a hoverboard is one of the many ways of transportation; There are many designs of hoverboards that you can buy from certain stores in the game.
  • Garry's Mod: In this Source mod, a hoverboard contraption can easily be created by spawning a wood plank and attaching two hoverballs to it; also, it is possible to download an add-on from garrysmod.org which gives a hoverboard (originally based on the version from Unreal Tournament 3, mentioned below).
  • Kirby's Air Ride: In this Nintendo GameCube game you can have Kirby ride on the hoverboard called the Warp Stars or gliders like Winged Star and Jet Star, Kirby can race against opponents in Air Ride, Top Ride, and can fight opponents in City Trial mode.
  • Mega Man 2: In this game Megaman can earn a jet hoverboard called Item 2 by beating Air Man. He can also earn the hover platform called Item 1 by beating Heatman.
  • Psybadek features hoverboards called hoverdeks.
  • Skate 3: In this game there is a cheat that makes the wheels and truck of the player's skateboard disappear as though it were a hoverboard. The code is "mcfly" and obvious tribute to the main character of the Back to the Future trilogy who used a hoverboard in the second film.
  • Sonic Riders, Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity and Sonic Free Riders: These Sega games are based around hoverboards called "Extreme Gear" and other hovering vehicles.
  • Streak: Hoverboard Racing: In this PlayStation 1 game, you can choose your human character to ride a hoverboard in places like Windway Park, Skyview Highway, at the ski slopes of Eiswald Spitze. The goal of this game is to get first place or get more points by doing hoverboard tricks right and to be in the lead.
  • Street Trace NYC is a futuristic hoverboard combat racing game.
  • "Subway Surfers": In this game you double tap to activate a hoverboard that lasts for 30 seconds. You can use it more than once in a game, and there are more than 10 hoverboards to choose, 3 of them having special powers.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time: Arcade, Super Nintendo Entertainment System. In the level of Neon Nightriders 2020. The Ninja Turtles are riding round hoverboards as they also fight other enemies such as the foot clan robots also riding hoverboards.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: Battle Nexus: Nintendo Gamecube, PlayStation 2, Xbox. The Ninja Turtles ride a hoverboard during the underground levels dodging obstacles and collecting coins as you hover forward.
  • Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2: Although not part of the main game, it is possible to fly and hover in the air on your skateboard by a cheat.
  • Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3: When Star Wars character Darth Maul is unlocked, he rides a hoverboard.
  • Unreal Tournament III: A hoverboard is readily available to the player in certain maps and situations for expedited travel, mainly in Capture the Flag and Warfare maps.
  • Tony Hawk's Underground: The player can unlock Iron Man as a character for "free skate". He rides on a hoverboard.
  • Treasure Planet: For PlayStation 1, PlayStation 2, Gameboy Advance. In the Treasure Planet video games Jim gets to ride a hoverboard called the Solar Surfer dodging obstacles and collecting items, also he races fast to beat the time trial runs and even escape from Treasure Planet on the verge of destruction.
  • TrickStyle: A Sega Dreamcast and PC game released in 1999. See above mentioned AirBlade.

Hoverboards have made appearances in other video games, including Conker's Bad Fur Day, EyeToy: Antigrav, Hoverboard ASDF, Jak II, Jak 3, Jazz Jackrabbit, Jazz Jackrabbit 2, Kid Chameleon, the Mega Man series, Phantasy Star Universe, Ratchet and Clank, Rocket Power: Beach Bandits, Smallworlds, Streak: Hoverboard Racing, The Urbz: Sims in the City (DS and GBA versions), There, Trick Style, Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil, WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgames! and Space Wombat.

Animation[edit]

  • Ben 10: In a Season 1 episode, "Hunted", Ben receives a hoverboard as a sort of gift from an alien belonging to Diamondhead's race named Tetrax. Tetrax is also known as "Hoverboard."
  • "BoBoiBoy": BoBoiBoy Cyclone use a hoverboard to fly higher and faster.
  • Butt-Ugly Martians CGI animation TV show features 3 aliens riding on hoverboards to get to places while protecting Earth from their leader invading Earth.
  • Code Lyoko: In this French series, Odd Della Robbia's vehicle is a hoverboard called the Overboard.
  • Duck Dodgers: Near the end of the first part of the second season finale of this 2003-2005 Cartoon Network series, Dodgers uses a hoverboard to quickly traverse a junk yard to get to his ship.
  • Eureka Seven: Renton (and most of the other characters) ride a bodyboard-sized hovering surfboard that uses an atmospheric energy phenomenon called "trapar" as a means of lift and propulsion.
  • Flash Gordon (1996) cartoon series featured many characters using hoverboards. Most of the associated action figures featured hoverboards as accessories.
  • Freefonix: This CBBC children's program has two bands rivalling each other in future music (called 'Freewave') who ride hoverboards and hovering 'scooters' as well as hoverbikes, like a hot rod style motorbike with no wheels.
  • Futurama: Amy Wong rides a hoverboard-like device called a partyboard in the episode "Kif Gets Knocked Up a Notch".
  • Get Ed: Ed's primary mode of transportation is a transforming hoverboard.
  • Jimmy Neutron: In an episode when the space aliens come to Retroville, Nick Dean is given a hoverboard as a present from the aliens.
  • Midnight Patrol: Adventures in the Dream Zone (UK title: Potsworth & Co.): Keiko rides a flying skateboard when in the Dream Zone.
  • Pinocchio 3000 The Mayor Scamboli, Marlene and the 2 robots Cabby and Rodo use round hoverboards from their flying car to get safely down to greet kids at Scamboland.
  • ReBoot: Many of the show's characters fly around using devices called zip boards, which are somewhat similar to hoverboards, consisting of two circular disks (one for each foot) and a folding rod connecting the two discs.
  • Skysurfer Strike Force: The heroes drive around in small single passenger cars that transform into powered surfboard-like flying platforms.
  • Sonic Underground: Manic uses a red and yellow hoverboard as his primary mode of transportation.
  • Sonic X: In episode 57, Sonic uses a hoverboard to defeat the Metarex army.
  • Static Shock: Static receives a circular hovering device invented by Richie and powered by Static's electromagnetic powers. (This device is a step up from Static using a readily-available garbage can lid to fly.) In the '90s comic book Static, Static himself creates the collapsible disc.
  • The Jetsons: In this 1962 Hanna-Barbera TV series, Hoverboards are often used as sky skiing in episodes "A Visit from Grandpa", "Elroy's Mob" and "Elroy Meets Orbitty".
  • Rockin' with Judy Jetson: In this movie hoverboards are used a lot in the movie by Judy Jetson to stop Felonia Funk from taking over the universe.
  • Jetsons: The Movie: In this final Jetsons movie Elory and his team uses hoverboards in their basketball game.
  • The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest: In this Hanna-Barbera series, Jonny has a hoverboard that he uses frequently.
  • TaleSpin: The character Kit Cloudkicker uses a non-powered airfoil to "cloud surf", or "cloud ski" when towed by an aircraft, but unlike skysurfing is in a sustained horizontal motion and not a controlled descent.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Nutrinoes, the turtles' friends from another dimension, ride hoverboards. Later on in the 2003 TV series Raphael can be seen riding a hoverboard using Utroms technology. Later on in Season 6 "Fast Forward" they can be seen riding hoverboards in the year 2105.
  • The Transformers: The Movie (1986): Daniel rides a hoverboard before hitting a rock and being caught by Hot Rod. (Note that the movie was released in 1986, pre-dating BTTF Part II by three years.)
  • ThunderCats: WilyKit and WilyKat frequently traveled by hoverboard-like devices called "space boards".
  • ThunderCats 2011: WilyKit and WilyKat traveled by hoverboard in the episode "New Alliances".
  • Totally Spies: The spies often ride on hover boards that are lone and flat with a motor propelling them at the back.
  • Treasure Planet: Jim Hawkins uses a hoverboard-like device called a "solar surfboard".
  • Tree Fu Tom: The scenario includes magical hoverboards (called "leafboards").
  • Wreck-It Ralph: A female character from Heroes Duty named Sergeant Calhoun is known for riding a hoverboard. The character Fix-It-Felix asks Calhoun if he can ride the hoverboard to find Ralph, which she agrees on. They both ride the jet powered hoverboard into the game Sugar Rush to find Ralph.
  • Zoids: Chaotic Century: In some episodes, Van Flyheight has a hoverboard. In the first episode, it aids him in his escape from an attacking Guysak. It is used in a few others, but after episode one (where he receives a Shield Liger to use, ridding him of the necessity of a hoverboard for transportation), it is rarely ever seen.

Books[edit]

  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw: Greg Heffley mentions he has no money for snacks since he ordered several products from his comic books, one of which is a hoverboard (really just instructions to build one, with Greg getting stuck on the first step, acquiring an industrial-strength twin-turbine engine).
  • The Uglies Series by Scott Westerfeld: Hoverboards are featured prominently as a form of transportation. In the books, hoverboards mainly relied on magnetism but additionally are powered by stored solar energy to work; they can travel over the magnetic grid that runs throughout the cities and over bodies of water that contain magnetic mineral deposits. Accessories used in conjunction with the hoverboards include belly sensors, navel-ring like devices that tell the board the rider's center of gravity; and crash bracelets, which stop the rider in mid-air to prevent serious injury in case of a fall. However, crash bracelets can also potentially harm the rider; if the rider falls from a great height, the sudden stop can cause arm and shoulder injuries. The third book in the series, Specials, introduces a different type of hoverboard that uses rotorcraft technology in addition to magnetic levitation, allowing the board to travel over areas with no magnetic field.

While described in the book as being rather thin, streamlined, and metallic, the manga and author describe and show the boards as being large and rather thick, with many panels and having a wide oval shape.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]