What do you see in the possibility
of hoverboards? I believe there is one
company by the name of Hovertech who
already has made one?

are you for real?

Whoever told you that was riding on hot air.

I don’t know who first said “everyone’s a critic,” but I think it’s a really stupid saying.

The hoverboard of Back to the Future II is not likely possible. I do not believe they ever even tried to explain how it worked, just that it did. (Except over water).

Hovercrafts (AFAIK) use a huge fan to lift the craft and keep it above the ground. A fan large enough and powerful enough to lift even a kid would be way too large for a skateboard type device.

As others have mentioned any reports you have heard are likely false or exaggerated.


I wouldn’t reject the idea out of hand. I can imagine a hoverboard made out of a room temperature superconductor material (which doesn’t yet exist). Put this over a large, magnetic plane and, theoretically, it would levitate. Of course, it would only levitate in a magnetic field; you couldn’t just use it anywhere. But can you imagine going to a magnetic “hoverboard park”? Wouldn’t that be cool?

Geez, anybody want to answer the question he actually asked dealing with “possibility”?

With currently available technology, it would be possible, but not feasible. You would need a skirt to contain the airflow and a fan generating enough airflow to easily lift a 100+ lb mass. My guess is that a fan that generated that kind of airflow would be too large, or if not too large, too prohibiitively expensive considering current technology.

If you check out Hovertech’s site you’ll see that they use the words “may” and “possibly” a lot and do not claim to have a prototype, only plans that they’ll sell ya. Their “ionization” theories are very skimpy in terms of detail and they do not claim it is anything other than theory.

But to answer your question, is it possible? The technology is there (hovercrafts have been around for years) we just need to refine it. Good luck selling em and staying in business in a country with this many lawyers though.

This all deals with guesswork and probability.

I recall a plan (or just the idea) for a skateboard park covered with steel mesh. An electrmagnetic current running through the mesh would allow a skateboard equiped with some sort of magnetic surface to float (or hover) across the park.

This was years ago, and I haven’t heard anything of it since.

Mark Mal, actually, it might be possible without RTSC, I seem to remember reading about a new maglev type train that uses non superconductive magnets for the lift and propulsion. I believe it had to do with the magnets being deformed in some way, I will try to find the cite. If the memory is not faulty, then it may be possible that this system could be used for a hovertype board. (Of course anyone who built it would be opening themselves up for all those nice ‘magnetic fields are causing cancer, cause I have cancer and I’m near a magnet all the time…no it can’t be the cigars I smoke, cigars don’t cause cancer.’ lawsuits.)

>>while contemplating the navel of the universe, I wondered, is it an innie or outie?<<

—The dragon observes

Even if the technology would overcome the levitation problems, it would be difficult to maintain balance when standing on a skateboard-sized device.

Any surfers out there? How hard is it to stand on a surfboard which is moving at relatively slow speeds?

I found a cite at CNN regarding the design using permenent magnets rather than superconductors. Note that the magnets are not deformed, rather they are arranged in a special way, to achieve the results desired. Also, the lifting strength is probably a non-linear function of the size/mass of the magnets, so a setup the size of a 'board, might not be big enough.

>>while contemplating the navel of the universe, I wondered, is it an innie or outie?<<

—The dragon observes

Are you sure about that? The way I remember it, superconductors naturally repel each other. No magnetic field is necessary.

Guy, No. Superconductors don’t naturally repel each other, they are used simply because you get a magnetic field from them more effeciently.

Here is the cite, I forgot to post it last time. ;/

>>while contemplating the navel of the universe, I wondered, is it an innie or outie?<<

—The dragon observes

Narile, that cite doesn’t really answer my question. As I remember, superconductors have two interesting properties:

  1. They can conduct electricity with no resistance. (Not just very little, but none.)
  2. They naturally repel each other.

Property 2 would be great for building the rails and wheels. Unfortunately no material that we know of right now has superconducting properties at “room” temperatures. The article isn’t clear on why they are being used to generate magnetic fields for the train, but I’m guessing it has something to with property 1.

The demo I saw in Physics 101 had a small disk of superconductive material, and above it a small cube of the same material. When liquid nitrogen was poured over them, cooling them to the point where they became superconductors, the cube levitated above the disk. You could poke it with a pencil and it would just tumble around in midair. I’m pretty sure there were no magnetic fields being introduced.

      • You saw it, Greg, but that wasn’t what you saw.
  • Superconductors repel magnetic fields. In the now “classic” setup, the large disk in the dish of liquid Nitrogen (or whatever) is the superconducting material, and the little disk floating above it is the magnet, usually a high-density type. The superconductor has to be kept cool, you see, and so it is always in the dish.
  • I did read in a science magazine just recently that when somebody took a cooled superconducting disk and rotated it, the weight of an item above it was decreased temporarily by 2 or 3%. The rotating superconductor seemed to block the effects of the Earth’s gravitational pull. This was an informal experiment; there was no formal announcement because more research had to be done to rule out possible errors. - MC

Hmm, that’s interesting. However, since the little cube thing was tumbling in mid-air, it must mean that the superconductor repelled both poles of the magnet. Are you saying it can do that, but not repel unpolarized iron?

Greg, the cite was in reference to my previous posting, and was not in reference to your question regarding superconductors.

Superconductors do not repel magnetic fields, They are just very effecient magnets, so that when you make an electromagnet with one, it can lift a similar pole magnet better. It works on the same principle as those floating pencil paperweights or the floating Wattu™ toy being sold at TacoBell right now, they don’t use superconductors, just normal magnets. Why they want superconductors for magnets is that the lack of resistance means more of what you put into it gets used, and that since their is less resistance, heat generation and thermal distortion is less a problem (That is why room tempature is such a big deal, it means not only do we not need a cooler to keep it superconductive, but the heat it generates will be so low, it won’t alter its operating parameters.)

>>while contemplating the navel of the universe, I wondered, is it an innie or outie?<<

—The dragon observes

A small hovercraft with enough force to lift a kid is possible to build, In fact, when I was a few years younger, I did so. I saw a science demonstration on TV which presented a hovercraft, constructed from a
circular piece of plywood, 4’ in diameter, with a piece of heavy plastic stapled to the edges of one side that covers the area of the circle. The plastic is then restrained by a washer and bolt in the middle, and 6 6" holes are cut evenly around the plastic, at about a foot from the center. When you used a vacuum cleaner or leaf blower through a hole in the top, you had a device which levitated on an air cushion that could hold 2 people at least. I have no cite for the science show I saw, so my only evidence for the truth of this is its construction, but such a device, with some modifications would make a feasible and relatively inexpensive toy. The problem I had was that it was difficult to control, and the biggest obstacle would seemingly be adding control mechanisms inexpensively.

Actually, I remember in one of my physics classes the professor made a simple hovercraft out of a board and a modified fire extinguisher. Was neat.

>>while contemplating the navel of the universe, I wondered, is it an innie or outie?<<

—The dragon observes