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Fictional hoverboard used by the character Marty McFly in both Back to the Future Part II and Back to the Future Part III.
Plot element from the Back to the Future film series
Publisher Amblin Entertainment
First appearance Back to the Future Part II (2015 in fictional timeline)
Created by Robert Zemeckis
In-story information
Type Personal transport
Function Personal transportation similar to a skateboard, but using a magnetic 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. 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.

The Guinness World Records recognizes the term hoverboard to include autonomously powered personal levitators. In May 2015, the Romania-born Canadian inventor Catalin Alexandru Duru set a Guinness World Record by travelling a distance of 275.9 m at heights up to 5 m over a lake, on an autonomously powered hoverboard of his own design and construction.

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.

In the 1950s Hiller aircraft produced the "Flying Platform" which was similar to the modern concept of a hover board.[2]

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.[citation needed]

In 2011, French artist Nils Guadagnin created a hovering board 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.[3][4]

In October 2011, the Université Paris Diderot in France presented the "Mag surf", a superconducting device which levitates 3 cm above two magnetized repulsing floor rails and can carry up to 100 kg.[5]

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.[6] Funny or Die later posted a video featuring Christopher Lloyd "apologizing" for the hoax.[7]

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 ten boards.[8][9][10] 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."[11]

In May, 2015, Guinness World Records announced that the Romania-born Canadian inventor Catalin Alexandru Duru had set a new record for continuous travel as a controlling pilot on an autonomously powered hoverboard, travelling over a distance of 275.9 m at heights up to 5 m over Lake Ouareau in the province of Quebec, Canada. Video of the flight leading to a controlled splash-down is offered.[12] Duru had designed and constructed the hoverboard himself over the course of a year. Its lift is generated by propellors, and the pilot controls the craft with his feet.

On 24 June 2015, Lexus released a video as part of their "Amazing in Motion" series purporting to show a real hoverboard they had developed. It was stated by Lexus that the board worked using liquid-nitrogen-cooled superconductors and permanent magnets. The board was shown moving over a conventional looking concrete skateboard park surface, which led to some skepticism. Lexus apparently later admitted that it only works on special metallic surfaces and the surface shown was not just concrete.[13] On August 4, 2015, Lexus revealed all the secrets of the The SLIDE hoverboard with a promotional campaign, filmed in Barcelona and starring Ross McGouran, a professional London skateboarder. Lexus released a series of videos explaining the technology and the whole engineering, research, and development process in association with all its partners.[14]

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), to escape Griffs gang members in the year 2015. Later on Marty McFly would revisit 1955 and use the hoverboard to steal the Sports Almanac book back from Biff Tannen, to prevent him from taking over Hill Valley. In Part III (1990), in the year 1885, Doc Brown rides the hoverboard to rescue Clara from falling off the locomotive.
  • 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 1 (2002): The Green Goblin villain is known for terrorizing the citizens of New York on a flying hoverboard called the Goblin Glider.
  • 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".

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 real 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.
  • Final Fantasy VIII: Zell rides a hoverboard called the T-board at Balamb Garden before being confiscated by the facility member. Later on when the party visits Zells room in his house, a second T-board can been seen, but if Quistis in your group she'll tell a funny story about Zell crashing his hoverboard at the women's restroom.
  • 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.
  • Sonic Riders, Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity and Sonic Free Riders: These Sega games are based around hoverboards called "Extreme Gear" and other hovering vehicles.
  • Street Trace NYC is a futuristic hoverboard combat racing game.
  • 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.
  • Terraria: A player-obtainable/craftable accessory that allows flight in the game for a limited period of time.
  • Treasure Planet: For PlayStation 1, PlayStation 2, Game Boy 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.
  • In the Disney Infinity series two power disc are Hover broad from Lilo & Stitch &Treasure Planet franchises.

Hoverboards have made appearances in other video games, including Beam Breakers, 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, the Ratchet and Clank series, ReBoot (video game), 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.


  • Ben 10 In an episode of Ben 10, Tetrax, an alien bounty hunter, sees Ben's potential as a hero, and awards him with his hoverboard. In the TV movie, Ben 10: Secret of the Omnitrix, Ben accidentally drops the hoverboard in a vat of acid in the beginning of the movie. However, at the end of movie, Tetrax has given him a new hoverboard.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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: In this 2004 CGI movie, Mayor Scamboli, his daughter Marline, and his 2 henchmen robots Cab and Rodo can be seen riding disc shaped hoverboards at the amusement park 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.
  • Sonic Underground: Manic uses a red and yellow hoverboard as his primary mode of transportation.
  • 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 Elroy 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".
  • Time Warp Trio: In the episode "2105", the protagonists ride on hover disks while trying to escape their great-granddaughters, who also ride on hover disks.
  • 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".
  • Wreck-It Ralph: Sergeant Calhoun is uses a hoverboard.


See also[edit]


External links[edit]