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Innovators look back to the future for inspiration

We are now just three weeks away from 2015, the futuristic fantasia filled with cyberpunks and hover boards that Marty McFly and Doc Brown visited in that seminal Eighties time travel classic, Back To The Future Part II. We are also merely a few days from the end of a Kickstarter campaign which aims to create the world’s first, real, fully functioning hover board. The timing couldn’t be cuter.

Arx Pax now have a working prototype of their Hendo Hoverboard, which floats an inch off the ground. And while that might not sound like much, it’s a ground-breaking first step. There are also a couple of other significant drawbacks to overcome, like the fact that the Hendo will only levitate over surfaces that are made from non-ferromagnetic conductors such as aluminium. “That means city streets and sidewalks will have to undergo a major overhaul if people decide they would rather go to work on a Hendo,” writes Nicole Arce at Tech Times.

Despite these hurdles, the first ten units have already been snapped up at $10,000 each, and the Hendo Hoverboard was listed in TIME’s 25 best inventions of 2014. Skateboarder Tony Hawk even dropped in on the gang at the Arx Pax lab last month to try the Hendo hover board out for himself:

Science fiction has long proven to be fertile ground for inspiration among inventors; for example, the various gadgets used by the crew of the starship Enterprise in Star Trek preceded the remarkably similar smartphone and iPad by decades. Finch’s Director of Applied Technologies Emad Tahtouh spoke about the links between the imagined hardware of tomorrow and the ingenuity of today during his appearance at Spikes Asia in September. “The technology is there,” he said, “it’s just waiting, and every day we’re getting closer and closer to being able to accomplish these things.”

Let’s just hope that the fashion sense of Marty McFly’s 2015 remains in the realm of fiction.

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