For those of us who have been waiting for a real hoverboard since we first saw Back to the Future Part II all the way back in 1989, the wait is over. We first wrote about the Hendo Hover towards the end of last month, and now we’ve got our best look at it yet, taken for a test spin by skateboarding legend Tony Hawk. And yes, that’s just as awesome as it sounds. Check out the video for yourself.
We’ve been following the development of technologies that might make hoverboards possible for a while now. Alas, they’re kind of like jetpacks—we hoped, even expected, to see them widely used by now, but they aren’t. At least functioning jetpacks actually exist. But wait, this is no longer a point of distinction, as an honest to goodness working hoverboard is here.
Hendo Hover is responsible for finally translating the hoverboard from science fiction to science fact. Hendo has developed a working prototype—the company’s 18th—that actually hovers an inch off the ground. And, of course, the company has a Kickstarter campaign (which has already met its goal) to raise enough money to put the “finishing touches” on the product, manufacture them, and build places to ride them—something akin to skate parks.
At this point in the Technology Age, any design of an actual working hoverboard is just a concept design, as they still don’t quite exist. But if they did, what would they look like? They couldn’t possibly retain the hideous look of the hot-pink mess that Marty McFly stole from that little girl in Back to the Future: Part II, could they? We probably won’t know for a while yet, but now we can look back on the original illustrations that birthed the post-skateboard craze in Robert Zemeckis’ sequel.
These concept images were created by artist John Bell, whose visual effects work on Back to the Future Part II earned him an Oscar nomination and a win at the BAFTAs. His talents have since gone into the productions of Back to the Future Part III, The Rocketeer, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, and Rango, with concept work for G.I. Joe: Retaliation serving as his most recent accomplishment. And judging from these drawings, it seems like Bell should have also worked on some underground comic books in the 1980s.
UPDATED: Well, that didn’t take long. After a bunch of people kept insisting the hoverboard video was the real deal, Funny or Die has finally come forward to take credit for it. You can see Christopher Llyod’s “apology” below, followed by the original viral video. But hey, at least we’re getting power laces…
Futurists think a lot about what transportation might look like. Will we travel via bullet train or hyperloop? Who and what will take us to space? Are those hoverboards coming anytime soon? jetpacks? In the future, I plan to keep riding my bike, I’ll pass on that smartwheel, thank you very much. The bike as we know it, however, might look drastically different, and they’ll likely be able to do all kinds of things bikes of today can’t.
For cyclists who think that turning wheels on the ground has gotten old, there’s a hover bike in the works. Aerofex is working on a “bike” that looks more like Annakin’s pod racer from The Phantom Menace. Powered by ducted fans, it reaches heights of approximately 15 feet. There’s a conceptual prototype, and the company is now developing a usable version. But unless you’re on Tatooine, the hover bike probably won’t ever enter the consumer market.
Great Scott! According to Back to the Future Part II, it will only be three more years until hoverboards are a reality. But for those who don’t want to wait that long, Mattel is currently selling non-working hoverboard replicas that look and feel exactly like the ones Marty McFly used in Back to the Future Part II. Check out a video review below…