What Happens When You Give Tony Hawk Some Free Time With A Hover Board?

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Sports fanatics around the world have been talking about hoverboards for some time now; after all, who doesn’t like the idea of a floating skateboard-like object that can take them wherever they want to go? Tony Hawk is among the few lucky people so far who have been privileged to ride one of these hoverboard prototypes, but how does this technology actually work and how far along has it really come?

Tony and The Hendo Hoverboard – There are three main types of hoverboards in existence today, but the type we’ve seen Tony riding is called a Hendo hoverboard, which utilizes electromagnets contained within the board that interact with a conductive surface to create the necessary lift that keeps the board floating in the air.

In order to function, this model must be ridden on a metallic surface that creates its own magnetic field.

As the electromagnets in the board move, the magnetic field created from the board and the surface itself repel one another, allowing the board to float along the specialized surface.

Take the board into another environment, and, well, you’d no longer have a hovering board. As we’ve seen in the video, the technology isn’t quite up to speed to match Tony’s ability to flip, twist and fly, but from what we’ve heard, he’s decided to help improve this model with his own ideas.

A Twist on the Hendo From Lexus – Another hoverboard prototype that uses a similar technology is made by Lexus. This board is much smaller than the Hendo and actually does look a lot like a skateboard, but it still has to be used over a specialized surface. Magnetic fields still provide the force that keeps the board off of the ground, but instead of electromagnets, this board contains superconductors. The riding surface contains magnets, and when those superconductors come close to the magnets, a levitation effect occurs.

In addition to being limited to riding on the specialized surface, one other drawback is the temperature required for the superconductors to work; in order to obtain the desired levitation, the rider would have to frequently add liquid nitrogen to the board to keep the superconductors chilled all the way down to -320 degrees Fahrenheit. While watching water vapor condense on the board may produce a cool visual effect, having to stop to add liquid nitrogen is overall less than desirable when it comes to having a truly functional hoverboard.

The Omni Board Takes You Over Land or Water – Moving away from magnets, electric fields and liquid nitrogen leaves us with one other hoverboard to showcase. The Omni hovercraft uses rotors in basically the same way as a helicopter to produce enough forced air to suspend the board and rider several feet above the surface. The significant advantage here is that this board really can travel anywhere over land or water, as it is not dependent on any special interactions other than the force of the propelled air overpowering the force of gravity. It is said to be highly maneuverable and can be directed up, down, and/or side to side, but not for too long, as the battery life is short. Because batteries are heavy, this hoverboard can’t suspend the weight of its passenger and a big enough battery pack to last more than a few minutes at a time. That may be long enough for some thrill riding, but isn’t necessarily functional in the sense of getting from point A to point B.

Safety may also be an issue with the Omni. Imagine riding one of these hoverboards in a city and coming down on an innocent bystander; needless to say, there could be some highly undesirable consequences from such an action. Certainly Omni realizes there are some improvements to be made here.

Hoverboard Technology Has a Few More Bugs to Work Out

Many of you are hungry for a hoverboard, and with good reason! While celebrities like Tony Hawk may be privileged enough to actually try out the prototypes, the rest of us may have to be satisfied in watching YouTube videos of him and a few others for awhile longer while the technology improves a bit more.

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