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A hoverboard (or hover board) is a levitating board used for personal transportation. Since it was first described in science-fiction, many attempts have been made to invent a functioning hoverboard.

In fiction[edit]

Hoverboards were first described by author M. K. Joseph in a 1967 science fiction novel, and popularized by the Back to the Future film franchise.[1] During the 1990s there were rumors, fueled by director Robert Zemeckis,[2] that hoverboards were in fact real, but not marketed because they were deemed too dangerous by parents' groups. These rumors have been conclusively debunked.[2]


Several companies have drawn on hovercraft "air-cushion vehicle" technology to attempt to create hoverboard-like products but none have demonstrated similar experiences to the kinds of levitation depicted in science fiction films.

In the 1950s Hiller aircraft produced the "Flying Platform" which was similar to the modern concept of a hoverboard.[3]

The Airboard air-cushion vehicle was unveiled in the 2000 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony in Sydney,[4] which was manufactured and sold by Arbortech Industries Limited.[5] Series II was unveiled in 2007.[6]

Rumors circulated in 2001 that inventor Dean Kamen's new invention, codenamed Ginger, was a transportation device resembling a hoverboard. In reality, Ginger was the Segway Human Transporter, a self-balancing two-wheel electric scooter.[7]

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.[8]

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 two (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.[9][10][11]

In October 2011, the Université Paris Diderot in France presented the "Mag surf", a superconducting device which levitates 3 cm (1.2 in) above two magnetized repulsing floor rails and can carry up to 100 kg (220 lb).[12]

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.[13] Funny or Die later posted a video featuring Christopher Lloyd "apologizing" for the hoax.[14]

In October 2014, American 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 140 kg (300 lb) while hovering 2.5 cm (1 in) 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.[15][16] 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 his California-based company, Arx Pax Labs, Inc.'s, Magnetic Field Architecture (MFA), which Henderson was more interested in using for other applications, as an emergency maglev mechanism capable of separating buildings from the earth to protect them from earthquakes and floods. 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."[17] Henderson and his team are currently developing the SAFE Building System, a sustainable way to build in flood zones and coastal areas. It is designed to float buildings, roadways, and utilities in a few feet of water.[18][19]

In May, 2015, Guinness World Records announced that the Romania-born Canadian inventor Cătălin 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 (302 yd) at heights up to 5 m (16 ft) over Lake Ouareau in the province of Quebec, Canada. Video of the flight leading to a controlled splash-down is offered.[20] Duru had designed and constructed the hoverboard himself over the course of a year. Its lift is generated by propellers, 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, the Slide. 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.[21] On August 4, 2015, Lexus revealed all the secrets of 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.[22]

On 24 December 2015, ARCA Space Corporation claimed it developed a hoverboard named ArcaBoard, and the batteries can provide energy enough for six minutes of hovering at height of up to 30 centimeters (12 in). It has 36 electric motors that power 36 fans.[23]

In April 2016, a jet powered Flyboard Air hoverboard, flown by inventor Franky Zapata broke the Guinness World Record for farthest flight by hoverboard, flying 2,252.4 meters (2,463.3 yd).[24]

In July 2019, Franky Zapata flew the newer Flyboard Air "jet-powered personal aerial vehicle", referred to as the EZ-Fly, during Bastille Day celebrations in France.[25][26][27] On 4 August 2019, Zapata succeeded in crossing the English Channel with his device. The previous attempt on 25 July had been unsuccessful, but during the second try, escorted by French Army helicopters and using a backpack fuel reservoir, he accomplished the 35-kilometer (22 mi) journey in about 20 minutes, including a fueling stop at the midpoint. Zapata reached a speed of 180 km/h (110 mph) and maintained an altitude of approximately 15 meters (50 ft).[28]

Zapata's company, Z-AIR, had received a €1.3m development grant from the French military in December 2018.[29] However, he has said that the flyboard was not yet suitable for military use due to the noise it creates and the challenge of learning how to fly the device.[30]

Guinness records[edit]

Guinness World Records defines a hoverboard as an autonomously powered personal levitator.

In May 2015, the Romanian-born Canadian inventor Cătălin Alexandru Duru set a Guinness World Record by travelling a distance of 275.9 m (302 yd) at heights up to 5 m (16 ft) over a lake, on an autonomously powered hoverboard of his own design.[31][32]

On April 30, 2016, Guinness World Records recognized a new record of 2,252.4 m (2,463.3 yd). The Flyboard Air was powered by jet engine propulsion, and its use allowed Franky Zapata, in Sausset-les-Pins, France to beat the previous record by nearly 2 km (2,200 yd).[33]

In popular culture[edit]

Back to the Future[edit]

Fictional Mattel 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
PublisherAmblin Entertainment
First appearanceBack to the Future Part II
Created byRobert Zemeckis
In-story information
TypePersonal transport
FunctionPersonal transportation similar to a skateboard, but using a magnetic means of levitation instead of wheels.

Back to the Future franchise: Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) rides a Mattel hoverboard in Back to the Future Part II (1989), to escape Griff Tannen and his gang in the year 2015. Later on, Marty McFly would revisit 1955 and use the hoverboard to steal the Grays 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.

In the one-off special Doc Brown Saves the World, Doc reveals that he erased the existence of the hoverboard and other inventions from the 2015 shown in the series as they contributed to a chain of events that culminated in Griff Tannen triggering a nuclear holocaust.


  • In the 1986 The Transformers: The Movie, there is a scene where Daniel Witwicky rides a hoverboard.[37]
  • In the 1998 film Futuresport, a hoverboard is used by Dean Cain's character.[1]
  • In the Warframe Fortuna Expansion, a new type of vehicle called a K-Drive was released. This vehicle functions exactly as a hoverboard.
  • in the 2018 podcast Six Minutes, the main character Holiday has one
  • In the 2006 Sonic the Hedgehog video game Sonic Riders, the characters use modified hoverboards as a racing vehicle.
  • In the 1999 video game TrickStyle, the characters use hoverboards as a racing vehicle.
  • In the 2011 Malaysian animated cartoon,Boboiboy,the characters name Boboiboy Cyclone who ride a Hoverboard Cyclone

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Shea, Ammon. "Hoverboard". Merriam-Webster. Retrieved 2016-02-16.
  2. ^ a b snopes (4 November 2015). "Back to the Future Hoverboard : snopes.com". Snopes.
  3. ^ "Exhibits: Hiller Flying Platform". Archived from the original on 2010-06-11.
  4. ^ "The Hover Board: How Close Are We?". 12 January 2009.
  5. ^ "Arbortech Industries Limited Airboard page". Archived from the original on July 20, 2001.
  6. ^ "Arbortech releases Airboard Series II" (PDF).
  7. ^ Lynch, Michael (8 February 2017). "The Death Of The Oil Industry: Not This Again". Forbes. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  8. ^ "Hoverboard | Technology | Discovery - video dailymotion". Dailymotion. 16 October 2015. Retrieved 2020-05-15.
  9. ^ "Hoverboard Project Takes Flight--and Actually Hovers". TechHive. 27 May 2010.
  10. ^ "Hoverboard Project Takes Flight--and Actually Hovers". PCWorld. Retrieved 2017-02-25.
  11. ^ "Best Bluetooth Hoverboard 2021". Hoverboardes. 10 October 2020. Retrieved 2020-11-21.
  12. ^ "Le Mag Surf- Université Paris Diderot - Paris 7". www.univ-paris-diderot.fr (in French). Retrieved 2017-02-25.
  13. ^ Anthony, Sebastian. "HUVr: The Back to the Future hoverboard is finally here". Ziff Davis, LLC. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
  14. ^ Funny Or Die is Sorry for Lying about Hoverboards, retrieved 2017-02-25
  15. ^ Sean Buckley (2010-10-21). "We rode a $10,000 hoverboard, and you can too". Engadget.
  16. ^ Hendo Hover (2014-10-21). "Hendo Hoverboards - World's first REAL hoverboard". Kickstarter.
  17. ^ Conor Dougherty (2014-10-21). "Hoverboard? Still in the Future". The New York Times.
  18. ^ Hawkins, Andrew (27 October 2016). "This hoverboard startup wants to create floating cities to combat climate change". The Verge. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  19. ^ Staff Reporter (17 June 2014). "Hoverboard informatie - alle informatie over de Hoverboard en Oxboard!". Hoverboard kopen (in Dutch). Retrieved 2017-02-25.
  20. ^ Kevin Lynch (22 May 2015). "Video: Watch incredible footage of farthest flight by a hoverboard record set by Canada's Cătălin Alexandru Duru". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 22 May 2015.
  21. ^ Andrew Liszewski. "Wait a Minute, Did Lexus Actually Make a Working Hoverboard?". Gizmodo. Gawker Media.
  23. ^ ArcaBoard: The first real hoverboard?, Gizmag.com, accesat la 26 decembrie 2015
  24. ^ Lynch, Kevin (2016-04-30). "Confirmed: Franky Zapata sets new Farthest hoverboard flight record in France". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 2016-07-12.
  25. ^ https://www.zapata.com/en, About Us
  26. ^ https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/23854/one-company-thinks-flying-platforms-have-finally-come-of-age-but-will-the-military-hop-on-board, One Company Thinks Flying Platforms Have Finally Come Of Age, But Will The Military Hop On Board?
  27. ^ "Franky Zapata crosses Channel by hoverboard at second attempt". The Guardian. 2019-08-04. Retrieved 2019-08-05.
  28. ^ "Franky Zapata: French inventor successfully crosses Channel by hoverboard". The Independent. 2019-08-04. Retrieved 2019-08-05.
  29. ^ "French 'Flying Man' Franky Zapata Crosses the English Channel on Jet-Powered Hoverboard". News 18. 4 August 2019.
  30. ^ "Franky Zapata crosses Channel by hoverboard at second attempt". The Guardian. 4 August 2019.
  31. ^ Canadian Develops Futuristic Hoverboard. 13 October 2015 – via YouTube.
  32. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bfa9HrieUyQ
  33. ^ "Farthest flight by hoverboard".
  34. ^ Correspondent, Jay Gearan. "'Back to the Future' still No. 1 with Hubbardston father, son".
  35. ^ "Flyboard Air Interview". 10 January 2017. Archived from the original on January 31, 2017. Retrieved January 20, 2017.
  36. ^ "What's on: madcap movies, curious beasts & butterfly ladies - InDaily". 20 January 2017.[permanent dead link]
  37. ^ The Transformers: The Movie (1986) - Clip showing Daniel Witwicky riding a hover board - Youtube Video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGrKfQ9Ss7w

External links[edit]