Strange things happen in the big city, especially if you are a New York City resident. A video shows a man flying through the air with a hoverboard. Not the wheeled ones you see around town, but the ones portrayed in sci-fi flicks like Back to the Future Part 2.
Taking a closer look, the hoverboard looks more like a high-powered drone than the one seen in the 1989 classic. To be specific, it is reported by TMZ that it costs $20,000 to own one of these technological beasts. Well, at least that is the range of its price. As it is not a retail item, it is hard to gauge an exact price or how this mysterious person was able to get their hands on said machine to fly above the people walking.
Omni Hoverboards is the company responsible. The first company to make an actual hoverboard, and not something with wheels that college students ride across campus to get to class. While much bigger than portrayed in sci-fi movies and video games, the company has been creating these machines since 2010. With new prototypes comes more innovation on its product.
The hoverboard that is seen in the video of the man zipping through New York and potentially breaking some laws comes from Alexandru Duru, who invented this technology. He founded his Montreal-based company and called it Omni Hoverboards. The idea came from drones, which are normally too small for a human to ride. Increasing the size came to be his first prototype.
The first iteration had a frame. It was fitted together with tubes with four booms at the end, for a total of eight booms. At the end of each of these was an electric motor and propeller, making for eight each for the propellers and motors. To stick to the hoverboard, it was fitted with a snowboard strap for the person’s feet. The total size was about 2.5 meters wide (or 8 feet wide).
It is unclear if the footage in New York is the same prototype or another one, as Duru has continued to evolve his project further over the years.
Omni is not the only company gunning to make dreams come true from Back to the Future fans or people who simply want to fly without buying a plane ticket. Seven years ago, we reported on a Kickstarted hoverboard from Hendo Hover. That ended up looking more like what sci-fi fans would think about when hearing the word “hoverboard.”
After years of making various prototypes, Hendo has been quiet in recent years. The last bit of news came about the Hendo Hoverboard 2.0 in 2016. It is hard to determine the state of the company, so people may have to hold their breath until anything new comes out.
Regardless, hoverboard technology is making its way forward. As sci-fi readers and viewers get into start-ups or joining companies like Hendo and Omni, it should be expected to see more and more news about it, especially if you start seeing people flying through your hometown.