After years of disappointments, our dreams of getting “Back to the Future”-style hoverboards are actually about to come true. For about six minutes, anyway, and only if you have about $20,000 to spare.
ARCA Space, which typically designs aerospace vehicles and rockets for private spacecraft, has released images and video of its Arcaboard, a skateboard-like device that can hover up to a foot off the ground and support the weight of an adult. The Arcaboard is a bit bigger than the model Marty McFly rode in “Back to the Future 2,” coming in at 57 inches long and 30 inches wide. It also weighs about 180 pounds. Perhaps “hoverplatform” would be a better name for the product.
Fun for Six Minutes
Size and weight aren’t the only differences between Arca’s hoverboard and the type that we’ve been imagining since the eighties. Unlike the boards developed by Lexus and the Hendo Hoverboard, which rely on magnetic levitation to achieve their gravity-defying effects, the Arcaboard uses high-power fans to create a cushion of air that it can float on.
That difference comes with a major advantage: unlike the boards developed by Hendo and Lexus, the Arcaboard can float over any surface, rather than being restricted to floating only above surfaces made of conductive material. That can potentially open up a huge new range of possibilities for Arca’s hover technology.
But using fans rather than magnets also makes for some pretty big drawbacks. The first is power usage: the Arcaboard can only run for about six minutes, tops, and for as little as three minutes for riders who weigh more than 110 kilograms (about 242 pounds). So you may want to work off any holiday weight gain before hopping on one.
Louder Than a Motorcycle
You will also want to invest in a good set of earplugs. The Arcaboard generates about 92 decibels of noise. That’s louder than riding a motorcycle or running your lawnmower. The source of all that noise is the 36 high-power electric ducted fans that produce a maximum thrust of 430 pounds to keep the board aloft.
Those fans are the reason the Arcaboard is as large as it is, taking up the majority of the volume of the vehicle. That makes the board more cumbersome, but also safer that other boards currently on the market. The company said that even in the case of multiple engine failures, the vehicle can still produce enough lift for a rider to continue floating safely.
The Arcaboard also has a built-in stabilization unit for the more cautious riders. When the unit is activated, riders can navigate the vehicles from their smartphones. For the more adventurous types, the stabilization can be turned off and riders can use their own bodies to direct the boards, much like traditional skateboards or surfboards.
The Arcaboard is available for pre-order now through the company’s Web site for $19,900, with deliveries expected to begin in April.
Posted: 2016-01-01 @ 11:37pm PT
A comparison between the hoverboard of Catalin Alexandru Duru and that made by Dumitru Popescu from ARCA.
Catalin Alexandru Duru's hoverboard
- 8 rotors, 4000 W,
- Total Power: 32 kW = 43 hp
- Payload: 1 person
Dumitru Popescu's hoverboard
- 36 rotors, 5.63 kW
- Total power: 203 kW = 272 hp
- Payload: 1 person
In conclusion, ArcaBoard is nothing else but a badly designed hoverboard that requires an enormous power, 272 hp, to carry a man while only 43 hp are necessary for such a job.