Hoverboards Past, Present and Future – A Complete Guide
Posted by Tom Lee on
Hoverboard has become a hot topic in the high tech world these days. Everyone (both kids and adults) wants to ride on this new age technology. But the hoverboard as it’s widely known can actually be traced back to 1989 where it was first ridden in “Back to the Future”, a very popular science fiction movie of that time. If you were born before 1989 and have seen the movie, you’ll know exactly what we are talking about. Ever since then, the cravings for hoverboard have increased tremendously.
We all want to ride on a skateboard that actually moves above the ground, and in reality, that dream is now achievable. Thanks to the scientific works of companies like Lexus, Omni, and Hendo, we should be expecting hoverboards that actually hover and levitate anytime soon. But in the meantime, what we are seeing on the streets ridden by lots of people is not the real hoverboard people are expecting. The real hoverboard has no tires, but this one has tires and is known as a self-balancing scooter. This comprehensive guide provides more details on the real hoverboard, what to expect, features, as well as some nice information about the current self-balancing scooters. In the end, we will see what can be done to improve the scooters, what the future holds for the real hoverboard and how it can revolutionize the transport industry
What is exactly hoverboard?
Technically speaking, a hoverboard is a levitating platform that moves above the ground and is generally used for personal transport. Based on what we saw in “Back to the Future” and what some companies have already manufactured, basically, the hoverboard has no tires and floats on the air.
This shouldn’t be mistaken for a self-balancing scooter. While a hoverboard has no wheels, a scooter has wheels that enable smooth rides on different surfaces propelled by a battery-powered motor. Also, the hoverboard is powered by a magnetic field which allows it to lift from the ground and hover. Some other recently manufactured hoverboards are powered by jet kerosene. But a self-balancing scooter runs on a battery-powered motor, which is usually charged with electricity. Hoverboards are surely the latest technology in personal transport and we will start seeing more riders as companies increase their production of this high tech innovation.
How does it work?
As stated earlier, some hoverboards are powered by magnetic field technology while some others float on the air with the help of jet kerosene. ArcaBoard, one of the earliest revolutionary hoverboards, makes use of high-powered electric ducted fans to raise the hoverboard in the air. With a customized stabilization unit, the hoverboard can hold up to 242 pounds and stay in the air for several minutes. There is an option for users to put off the unit and steer the hoverboard with their body or use a Smartphone to navigate.
There is no technicality involved when riding a hoverboard. You don’t require a trainer or an expert to teach you how to ride on it. Just follow the simple instructions presented in the pack and you should be able to move it around easily. It shouldn’t take you more than a day to understand the riding basics of hoverboards.
However, remember that all hoverboards are not the same and they have different features. Pay attention to their safety features and make sure you select one with the right accessories to keep you safe while riding.
History of hoverboards
The idea of having a levitating device that hovers above the ground first came to limelight in Back to the Future, a 1989 science fiction movie. Thereafter, the craze for hoverboards became overwhelmingly fashionable as dozens of video games, movies, and animated films brought out their own fictional version of the hoverboard.
By 2014, a hoverboard was developed by Catalin Duru, a Canadian inventor. This coincided with its development and production by companies such as Lexus and Hendo.
Hendo and Lexus focused on the use of magnetic field system to power their hoverboards while Onmi (Catalin Duru’s hoverboard) took a different route by using propellers to keep its passengers in the air. In May 2015, Omni’s hoverboard broke the world record by being the only hoverboard to fly more than 50 meters in the air. More companies are now involved in the manufacturing of hoverboard and it’s believed that this wonderful device will flood the market in a very short while.
How Hoverboards Were Popularized By Movies and Celebrities
Mainly adults and youngsters are always eager to try out what they see in movies or buy similar items they see with their celebrity. The story of hoverboards is not far from this scenario. Although hoverboards have been around for a while, the popularity of this personal transport device was ignited by movies and celebrities.
As stated earlier, the name “hoverboard” became a generally adopted name culled from the widely popular movie, Back to the Future, in 1989. After that movie, several other movies used this technology which increased people’s awareness of such kind of transport devices.
There are several science fiction movies that have featured hoverboards, which increased peoples’ awareness of the device. Today, many people crave to ride on Marty McFly’s back to the future hoverboard. It’s not a surprise that many companies are trying to replicate the exact hoverboard as seen in the movie.
Hoverboards we all know today became widely acceptable due to their use by celebrities, who were its early adopters. Celebrities like Justin Bieber, Jamie Fox, and Nicki Minaj started riding on these toys and soon enough, their fans followed suit. Before long, many people became initiated into the hoverboard riding craze. And the popularity of hoverboards is growing steadily as more movies are featuring some of their characters riding this high tech transport gadget.
After the movie industry brought this high tech innovation to the limelight, it became a science project for self-made inventors and professional scientists alike. The present hoverboard models are very close to what was used in Back to the Future. But researchers and manufacturing companies have almost completed their research on how to make a similar one that stays on the ground for a longer period of time. Although there are hoverboards that stay above the ground, we are yet to see one that can levitate longer than 100 miles. We believe that such breakthrough will definitely be the turning point which will revolutionize the personal transport industry.
We all know that hoverboards are personal transporters everyone craves for. They are technologically advanced, fun to ride, and have a wide a range of accessories that make them enjoyable riding kits. Hoverboards come with several features that boost their functionality and aesthetic values. These accessories are provided to give you greater control and provide better security for you when riding. Below are some of the most notable accessories that come with hoverboards.
Riding outdoors on a hoverboard can be very risky, especially for a novice. It’s safer to have a protective cover in cases of falls. There are several types of high-quality helmets manufactured strictly for hoverboard riders. They can come in handy if one accidentally falls and slams his head on a floor or wall. It has happened to a lot of people and it can be fatal when there is not a protective helmet.
When riding a hoverboard, safety should be a paramount concern. With a protective gear in place, your safety is almost guaranteed. Those who are still new to hoverboard riding should invest in extra protective gears to keep them safe at all times.
Here is another excellent accessory your hoverboard needs to have. The high-quality rides are all designed with this protector. It is connected to hoverboard bumpers and provides strong scratch protection if you fall. It’s extremely light and will not cause any significant increase on the overall weight of the hoverboard. With scooter protection, your ride can stay as new as ever, which increases its market value in case you want to sell it to purchase a newer model.
Most high quality hoverboards are designed with polymer plastic shells that come in a wide range of colors, including blue, white, and black. This shell is meant to improve the overall look of the ride. Some hoverboards look more beautiful than others. One reason for this is for the covers that have been used for the outer coverings. If you want to attract peoples’ attention when riding on a hoverboard, select a protective shell that makes it look more attractive without sacrificing quality.
Apart from its beautification features, the protective shell keeps your ride free from scratches that may occur while riding. It’s easy to fix or remove the plastic shell and provide protection to keep your hoverboard as sparkling for a very long time.
All high quality hoverboard models should have a carrying bag for easy transportation. Sometimes you may need to travel with it for vacation or other things. A carrying bag provides the perfect place to safely keep your hoverboard while on transit.
The bumper is the most exposed part of the hoverboard. The pumper withstands lots of beating especially when the hoverboard is used regularly for personal transport. Those who depend on their hoverboards for transport on a daily basis need to have a replacement bumper for extra protection and longevity.
When riding on a hoverboard, the knees, elbows and wrists need to be protected. The safety gear scabs set are worn to provide superior protection in case of falls even at a high speed. Although some may see all these protective accessories as unnecessary, it’s always better to be safe with them than incurring avoidable injuries.
Keys, Bluetooth speakers and GPS
Some newly manufactured hoverboards now offer a wide variety of features that include GPS and Bluetooth speakers. The GPS is used for global tracking while the built-in speakers allow you enjoy your favorite songs when riding. Interestingly, there are some new models with remote car keys to turn on/off the device whenever you want. These are all features added to make hoverboards more appealing. But remember that some of these features will surely increase the cost of the hoverboard. So it all boils down to which features and accessories you need and how much you intend spending on the hoverboard.
Benefits of Hoverboards
We know hoverboards provide immense benefits to riders and commuters alike, they equally come with some disadvantages. However, their risks can be largely limited if the right safety measures are adhered to. It will also help if the right hoverboard is selected because there are so many inferior quality models that are prone to explosion. Let’s see some of the advantages and disadvantages of riding on a hoverboard.
Hoverboards are very affordable
If you want to buy a quality bicycle, a car, or a motorcycle for transport, you will spend a considerable amount of money. But a hoverboard is a cheaper option for you. There are so many individuals who now move to their workplace on a hoverboard. One major reason for this is affordability. With a hoverboard, you don’t need to make any special buying arrangement since they are very affordable. Yes, the high quality ones can be pricey, their costs are still better than motorcycles or other means of transport.
They are eco-friendly
Virtually all types of hoverboards are powered on a rechargeable battery and do not require any oil to operate them. Unlike other types of transportation systems that spill out carbon dioxide, hoverboards are pollution free. This is perfect for the environment. You can ride on them for several miles to your destination while keeping the environment free of pollution. So for those who clamor for green environment, a hoverboard is an alternative transportation medium that can reduce environmental pollution.
They are convenient
In a traffic laden area, the hoverboard will surely come in handy. It’s easy to maneuver and requires only a tiny amount of space to move. This little companion can be used to commute to market, visit friends and relatives, go to college, or go to work. If you are in a hurry to attend a meeting or go somewhere and don’t want any traffic delay on the road, a hoverboard should be the most convenient device to help you. They are fast and very easy to maneuver in any surface.
Zero maintenance cost
Another great reason why hoverboards are so popular is their zero maintenance cost. Since they don’t emit harmful gases that cause pollution, you don’t have to take them for emission check. With their strong design, they are not susceptible to constant breakage. This will save you a lot of maintenance cost while enjoying your ride for a very long time. The hoverboard is easy to store and can be kept anywhere. You don’t need to create a garage to park them. These are the features that make hoverboards very easy to maintain.
The hoverboard is designed for people of all ages. It’s one of the easiest tools to ride and doesn’t require any training to ride. All you need is to know the basic skills and you are ready to go. The simple design of most hoverboards makes them easy to control and maneuver. One of the most important things to consider in any product is its user-friendliness. If a device is too difficult to use, then the essence of owning that device has been defeated. Hoverboards are one of the simplest devices to use. As long as you read the operation manual and follow the instructions, you can start riding immediately after opening the device from the pack.
Overall, if you are looking for a convenient, affordable and eco-friendly ride, a hoverboard is surely a very good transportation option.
Shortfalls of Hoverboards
Yes we have seen many benefits of hoverboards, they also have their disadvantages. Below are some downsides of hoverboards.
The convenience of hoverboards cannot be questioned, but there are some places that are restricted to use. If you are residing in a place where there are laws prohibiting its use, you may not have the full benefits of enjoying your ride on a hoverboard. In New York for example, people are not allowed to ride hoverboards on the street. So many airlines also restrict people from traveling with a hoverboard.
Some hoverboards are very expensive
There are different types of hoverboards and they vary by price and quality. Although they are cheaper than most other transportation mediums, some self balancing scooters can actually take out a huge chunk from your wallet. The more annoying thing is buying an expensive scooter that doesn’t live up to its prize bill. The addition of different features on some hoverboards has increased their prices. Although there are still very affordable ones, the high quality models are usually more expensive.
Injuries and Risk of explosion
One of the main reasons why some people are still skeptical about using a hoverboard is the safety concerns of the devices. First, it may not be convenient for little children who may not understand some basic rules or guidelines when riding on a hover. Secondly, and more importantly, there are some poorly manufactured hoverboards that have exploded when they were being charged. This can cause serious injuries or damages to properties around such explosion. There have been issues of overheating with hoverboards, and it’s important to take necessary precautions to avoid this issue. So many riders have experienced some injuries from riding hoverboards. This is why it’s important to avoid erratic ridding and be very careful on the road when riding on hoverboards.
Why do Hoverboards explode?
The most ideal explanation for the explosion of hoverboards is when they come with faulty batteries. There are different types and models of this riding tool and some are made with inferior materials. There are so many low priced models that do not meet the safety manufacturing standards. Since they come with poorly manufactured batteries, they are more likely to explode when they are overheated or when charged for a long time.
Battery explosion is not really a new phenomenon among consumer electronics. In fact, there have been many reported cases of battery explosion in electronics such as electric cars, laptops, and smartphones. But an explosion of hoverboard batterie is considered highly risky because the batteries are very large. This sort of explosion can go to an extreme extent to burn a house.
The best way to prevent this from happening is to stick with the very best models in the market. How can one identify the best model? Well, a proper research is required to select only high-quality hoverboards with a great reputation and no incident for the explosion. Except it’s a brand new model, it should be easy to obtain information about any hoverboard you want to buy. What are their components made of? Are they designed with the best quality materials? These are some of the things you need to find out before buying the right hoverboard.
Always ensure that you select the ideal hoverboard for your use. Only select a product that is international safety certified. Do not be concerned by the price, because in the world of hoverboards, safety should be the first priority. If you can’t afford a high-quality model, it’s always better to wait until you can, instead of choosing a low-quality model that has high explosion risk.
Hoverboard Safety Concerns
Although the major problem most users have with hoverboards is their explosion propensity, there are other concerns as well. Below are some other hazards that may likely occur with a hoverboard.
Injuries from fall
Hoverboards are high-speed devices with some of them covering up to 10 miles per hour. Anyone call falls off from this transport device and sustains an injury. When riding a hoverboard, it’s important to take necessary safety precautions and keep the speed at a moderate level. You’ll need wrist guards, elbow pads, knee pads, and a helmet to minimize your risk of injuries in case you fall off the ride.
Just like bikes and other transport devices, there is always a risk of getting involved in a traffic accident, especially those riding the hoverboard on the street. It’s always advised to ride your hoverboard where there is less traffic to minimize the risk of collusion with individuals or vehicles.
Hoverboards are designed with different weight limitations. There are minimum and maximum weight limit for commuters. Those who are below the minimum weight limits (such as little children), will find it very difficult to ride since the scooter will not recognize their weight or balance well. On the other hand, those with weight above the maximum weight limit of a scooter can damage the scooter or fall off on the way. Before buying a scooter, it’s always better to check the weight limits to know you’re safe when riding on the hoverboard.
So which hoverboard is more ideal?
There are tons of companies selling a wide range of hoverboards in the market. The prices can range between $200 and $1100, depending on their features and quality. It might not be very easy to tell which one is the best by merely looking at the product or seeing them in the website catalog. However, the best way to detect the quality of a hoverboard is to see their safety features and make sure the device is UL 2272 certified. UL is an organization that inspects, verifies, tests, validates, and certifies electrical devices. When a hoverboard is UL 2272 certified, it showed that the company has taken some safety measures to manufacture hoverboards that are safe to ride. There are other criteria but this is the first thing to check when looking at the safety of a hoverboard. Safety is everything and it’s important to conduct a proper research before selecting the right hoverboard for your need.
Types and varieties of hoverboards
Hoverboards are of different types and models. They come in a wide range of features and specifications. Although they have the same functionalities, hoverboards are different in their designs. Below are some variations of this transport device.
These are the earliest versions of hoverboards with the most basic features. They are great on smooth surfaces but may not strive very well on rough pavements. These hoverboards come in a plethora of colors and are maneuverable. Overall, standard hoverboards are perfect for those who are just starting out to have their first riding experience.
The off-road scooter is designed for those who are more experienced in hoverboard riding. They always have larger batteries and have longer riding time than their standard counterparts. With their large tires, off-road hoverboards can easily maneuver across difficult terrains while keeping the rider properly balanced.
Most hoverboards are designed with wheels on either side. This provides better balance for the rider and helps hem perform different tricks when riding. The two wheels rotate independently due to their center hinge. The rider only needs to step into the pressure sensitive area of the hoverboard and control its direction through his movement. This type of hoverboard is the most common model in the market today because of their great design and maneuverability.
While the side wheel hoverboards have their tires at either side, the Airwheel model has its two wheels or a single large wheel at the center of the board. The user stands on the pressure sensitive area at either side of the wheels. Most users find this model a little more difficult to maneuver compared to the side wheel models, but they equally have their own benefits.
These are all versions of hoverboards based on how they are being powered. All electric and motorized models are powered by rechargeable batteries with motors that propel the ride on the road. Most of these hoverboards are a variation of some other models. For example, there are some electric models with air wheels while some others have sidewheels. Whichever model you select should be ideal for your needs and the environment you want to ride it. If you are looking to ride your hoverboard mostly on pavements and indoors, standard models should be your most likely option. But if you want to ride outdoors and want to use it for personal transport, it will be better to settle for the rugged off-road hoverboard.
Future of Hoverboards
Hoverboards have really made both positive and negative impressions since they were introduced into the market. While there have been great benefits for several people, others have experienced some shortfalls in their safety designs. We’ve all seen that the original intention of the hoverboard was to float in the air, and many companies have gotten there.
Several companies have been trying to replicate what we saw in the back to the future science fiction, and by now we have some hoverboards that actually levitate. The question and primary challenge for companies are how to make these hoverboards stay longer in the air. With the current research going on to improve its functionality, there is a strong indication that people will be able to ride hoverboards for hours in the air. In addition, the future of hoverboard is certainly bright with the ongoing research by different companies to improve its safety features and qualities.
There is ongoing research to improve the overall functionality of hoverboards. Lexus, in particular, is at the forefront of this research. The company has already developed a hoverboard that uses superconducting magnets powered by liquid nitrogen. The device is still a work-in-progress as it’s still limited by battery power and other issues. But it’s a sign that the company is heading in the right direction, and it is expected that improvements will be recorded on the functionality of hoverboards to make them stay on the air for a longer period of time.
Future Safety Concerns For Hoverboard
In the near future, we are going to see more high-quality hoverboards manufactured with the highest safety standards. This will definitely improve its use by commuters.
The overall benefits of hoverboards make them more appealing for personal transport. We are surely going to see more commuters going to their various places of work with the hoverboard instead of riding with their cars. And as its safety features are improved, more cities will approve its use. Although no one can foretell the future, the current crave for hoverboards entails that there will be more recognition and widespread use of this wonderful transportation device in the near future.
So, what can be done to improve the overall quality and design of the hoverboard to make it safe for everyone?
There should be an internationally recognized safety measure all hoverboards need to meet before they are certified. Once the product is properly tested and the safety measure is not met, the product should not be introduced into the market. Yes, there are some safety measures currently used on some products, but these measures are not done on all hoverboards.
One major problem of hoverboard is the inferior products made by some manufacturers. These products should be properly checked and not sold in the market. But we know that the hoverboard is quite new in the market so having all the safety enforcement will take a little time. But in the near future, there will be stricter safety regulations which should be enough to keep only the safest hoverboards in the market.
Companies that are planning to design and improve the future hoverboards
Several companies are in the race to produce the right hoverboards everyone is yearning for. Top of the list is Omni, Hendo, and Lexus.
The first version of the hoverboard was developed by Catalin Duru in 2015. Omni’s hoverboard does not make use of a magnetic field. Rather, it makes use of a system of propellers to keep the board moving above the ground. Omni’s hoverboard levitates higher than other types of hoverboards and they still hold the record are the hoverboard with the longest distance covered while on air. This hoverboard looks more like a drone than a skateboard. By the end of this year, the company intends to release the consumer version of the device, which will be available in the market. We will all love to ride on a real hoverboard and Omni has made a concerted effort to provide it for us.
Arx Pax is the manufacturing company behind the Hendo Hoverboard. Its main goal is to harness electromagnetic energy using magnetic field technology to keep the hoverboard steady on the air for a long time. There is a magnetic hover engine placed at the bottom of the engine which floats on the air when it hovers above an opposing magnetic field below the hoverboard. The specialized surface provides an avenue for the hoverboard to remain above and float in the air. Although their current hoverboard can levitate on the air and carries a weight of up to 250 pounds, there are still some limitations of the power. Another problem is the hoverboard’s ability to move only above a specialized surface. So, if it’s taken to an environment without a magnetic field on the surface, the hoverboard might not be able to levitate. The company is still working on ways to allow the hoverboard hover above all types of surfaces for a longer time.
Lexus, a famous car manufacturing company, has taken up the challenge to produce the high tech transport gadget making waves in the world. It began this journey since 2015 and has made tremendous progress. Of all types of hoverboards manufactured, Lexus’s own really looked like the exact hoverboard we saw in Back to the future. However, the power is propelled by a magnetic field, similar to that of Hendo. The board is still a prototype and has not been released to consumers yet. Lexus is still carrying out more research to improve the functionality of the device. There are other companies who have produced hoverboards that can actually levitate above the ground but the three above are at the forefront of the technology.
We will love to see hoverboards that can be ridden on the air for hours. That’s exactly what’s on the mind of these manufacturers. We are expected to see improved results and stronger hoverboards in the nearest future.
Overall, hoverboard is the latest transport gadget in town. Although its use has been restricted in several areas, it is believed that there will be more riding opportunities for this high tech gadget as companies improve its functionality.
Since its introduction, hoverboards have become one of the most sought after transport options for outdoor aficionados. Although what we always have seen on the streets are hoverboards with tires (self-balancing scooters) there is strong evidence that the real hoverboards are now in town. They are still very scarce and short in supply, but it’s believed that they will soon flood into the market and give everyone the opportunity to actually hover above the ground for several miles.
Meanwhile, we can still enjoy the hoverboards with tires. With their large tires and battery-powered motors, you are sure of smooth and comfortable rides on different types of terrains. But with recent cases of battery explosion, their popularity witnessed some hype for the wrong reasons. However, companies are now taking serious measures to make sure they produce the safest models of hoverboards for commuters and riders.
They have come to stay and their overall benefits make them highly demanded and popular. Their popularity is even going to increase in the near future with the proposed feature upgrades manufacturers are already embarking on the real hoverboards. Very soon, consumers will start enjoying what they have been yearning for: that’s a hoverboard that can gravitate above the ground and cover a distance long enough to take them from one geographical location to another. This is surely the best time to own a hoverboard and enjoy the wonderful benefits it provides.