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Sci-Fi Transportation Technology

The Hoverboard Flies Closer To Reality 81

Dave Knott writes: Fans of 1980s cinema were disappointed when the year 2015 arrived without a practical version Marty McFly's hoverboard. Now, a Montréal-based man has brought it closer to reality by setting a new record for longest "flight" by hoverboard. In a filmed test recognized by the Guiness Book of World Records, Catalin Alexandru Duru pilots his somewhat cumbersome looking rig for 250 meters — five times the previous record — at a height of five meters above Quebec's Lake Ouareau. Duru and his business partner "hope to have a new prototype finished by the end of the year and then have hoverboards available for purchase across the country. He wouldn't say how much the prototype cost to build, but said that the first generation of the machine will likely be 'quite expensive.'" "This thing is still quite dangerous," he added, explaining that the pilot uses only his or her feet to fly the contraption. The commercial version's software will limit it to flying below a height of about one-and-a-half meters above the ground.

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The Hoverboard Flies Closer To Reality

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  • by D4C5CE ( 578304 ) on Saturday May 23, 2015 @06:06PM (#49760613)
    If they had watched Back "2" The Future for a moment, they'd know the 2015 version isn't supposed to work on water yet. ;-}
  • Those boards don't work on water, unless you got POWAH!

  • Ducted fans? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MichaelSmith ( 789609 ) on Saturday May 23, 2015 @06:09PM (#49760631) Homepage Journal

    Looks like a drone with a guy standing on top. It must chew through LiPo batteries.

    • by tmosley ( 996283 )
      Yeah, that's what I was thinking. There are things out there a LOT more like a BttF2 hoverboard, though they only work on metal surfaces: http://hendohover.com/ [hendohover.com]
    • by tomhath ( 637240 )
      You just need a really long extension cord. Of course riding it over water makes that more exciting...
  • Put a Seat on the thing and you've got yourself a Star Wars jungle speeder bike.

  • Williams WASP X-Jet (Score:5, Informative)

    by OzPeter ( 195038 ) on Saturday May 23, 2015 @06:17PM (#49760663)

    The Williams X-Jet [youtube.com] did it better and did it 40 years ago.

    45 min duration, speeds of up to 60 mph, and no flying in a straight line over water, but flying in and around trees over land!

    • by Anonymous Coward
      He probably holds the record for hoverbucket, not the hoverboard.
    • by Jerry Rivers ( 881171 ) on Saturday May 23, 2015 @06:51PM (#49760787)

      The Williams X-Jet [youtube.com] did it better and did it 40 years ago.

      45 min duration, speeds of up to 60 mph, and no flying in a straight line over water, but flying in and around trees over land!

      Might be a problem filling up with jet fuel at the local Shell.

      • by tmosley ( 996283 )
        I know! Why didn't they just use plutonium for fuel? Everyone knows you can get that in any convenience store!
      • Not really, Jet fuel is more or less kerosene/diesel with a few additives to stop gelling at low temps. Well, jet B fuel is anyways. Jet A is a little more tricked out but you could get a close approximation with either kerosene or diesel fuel and a few additives mixed in something like the oil additives for 2 cycle engines. You possibly might need to few engine modifications. The Ceiling of this type of craft just isn't high enough to worry about the air temps that much as long as the ground temp is high e

        • Yes, but will it melt steel beams?
          • Sure.. I don't see why it wouldn't. They have been using gasoline and diesel to cut steel for ages. Usually it's the larger operations and big steel but petrogen makes a consumer torch that burns gas or diesel and can cut something like 14 inches thick.

            • It was a reference to the 9/11 conspiracy theory. The conspiracy believers claim that burning jet fuel cannot get hot enough to melt steel beams, and so it's impossible for the beams to have melted and collapsed the tower. They are simply wrong, though: As you point out, burning fuel can reach the required temperature easily, and it wouldn't even need to melt steel - just weaken it enough to collapse under tension.

              • It was a reference to the 9/11 conspiracy theory.

                ... and it was treated with the contempt deserved by such conspiracies.

                just weaken it enough to collapse under tension.

                "Compression". Unless you're talking about the Alien Abduction variant of 911, which posits that the whole event was a lifting test and the towers are currently residing in an underground hanger in Area 51.

                • No, tension. While the building as a whole was under compression, parts of the structure were still under tension. The failure points were in the horizontal struts - this can be seen in images of the burning towers in the form of a significant bulging around the impact site. As the struts failed, the structural outer walls bent outwards until eventually reaching the point of failure and collapsing.

                  • [SHRUG]

                    I was sitting on an oil rig watching the events (while having a "well control event," so not watching very closely. We had out own more important events going on.) on the newly-installed satellite TV. We probably know more about hydrocarbon-liquid fuelled fires than most people, because we have to be our own fire brigade. No one in the oil industry (TTBOMK) gives that "the fire couldn't reach the necessary temperatures" bullshit the slightest bit of attention. Because all to often we see that hydroc

        • The service ceiling of the X-Jet is 10,000 feet.

          • Temp drop is about 3.5 degrees f every 1000 feet. So that's around 35 degrees f drop at the ceiling. Untreated diesel will start separating wax at around 24 degrees F and likely be completely gelled at 18 or so degrees F. So as long as the ground temp is lets say above 35+30, or 65 degrees, there should be little to worry about. Frankly, in an open cockpit, that might be a little low of a range anyways for that height.

            That is without added weight of a fuel heater. You could run a return line near the exhaus

    • by Snufu ( 1049644 )

      Wow. We had our flying car - graceful, compact, long range, in 1974, and we collectively said 'meh'?!

      • A helicopter comes close. Fast, long range, VTOL capable. But they are horrifically fuel-inefficient, expensive, and the consequences of an accident are a lot worse than for a car with a correspondingly greater requirement for operator training.

    • According to this [wikipedia.org] here are two numbers that would cause the X-Jet to be useless.

      Empty weight: 401 pounds (182 kg) (182 kg)
      Loaded weight: 550 lb (250 kg)

      That would mean that the aircraft could lift 149 lbs in people and fuel. Most people who would be allowed to fly it would be over that weight. If one is 110 lbs one could carry 39 pounds a fuel and maybe get the advertised range. Sorry but that is not a very big market.

      • by OzPeter ( 195038 )

        Sorry but that is not a very big market.

        Ya think that in 40 years there might have been some improvements in propulsion technology????

        • by oobayly ( 1056050 ) on Sunday May 24, 2015 @01:59AM (#49762181)

          In 40 years people have also got a lot heavier.

        • Just saying why the original did not catch on.

          The current issues have to do with the propulsion method. It still requires moving large amounts of air which causes significant turbulence. I would not want to be anywhere near one of those when they took off or landed.

          Then there is the noise of the jet engine. Jet turbines designed to produce thrust are quite noisy.

          • Apparently there has been a reboot effort going on with significant improvements in the noise department.
            They had a (miserably failed) indiegogo-campaign 2+ years ago: https://www.indiegogo.com/proj... [indiegogo.com]

            The turbulence doesn't look half bad: https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]
            Looking at how close people are standing during the landing procedure, it is much, much better than the same situation for helicopters.

            In the noise department the info given by these guys is this:
            "Due to advances in technology the fuel cons

  • Now, a Montreal-based Romanian has brought it closer to reality by setting a new record for longest "flight" by hoverboard.
  • Electrically powered, computer stabilized just like a twenty dollar Cheerson CX-10 but a lot more powerful.

    A couple of years ago Hobbyking ran a contest called the Beer Lift Challenge and the last year they ran it, 2013, the unlimited winner lifted a 58.7 kilogram (130 pound) payload along with, obviously, its own weight. So here we are two years later, better batteries, motors, speed controllers and flight computers, and someone's bumped up that record to enough to lift a man.

    I wonder how long it'll be til

  • The damn thing is a flying food processor. Fly over the water and it will turn you into chum.

    So here you are when it throws you off [ngfiles.com], and now it's out of control

  • by AchilleTalon ( 540925 ) on Saturday May 23, 2015 @09:21PM (#49761421) Homepage
    I find it a bit strange Guiness Records only examined the footage before granting the record. The guy is specialized in 3-D visual effects. I mean, anyone has seen the real thing flying? I am living in Montreal and we never heard about this before today. Don't you think if something like that happened at lake Ouareau in August 2014 it wouldn't have made the front page of our local newspapers?
    • I find it a bit strange Guiness Records only examined the footage before granting the record.

      Wait, seriously? The Guinness endorsement was the only thing giving this a shred of credibility in my mind. If they really only saw the video then shame on them. They've been suckered.

      Wish I knew for sure. This bit from the CBC site is the only thing I've seen which suggests that all the Guinness Book people saw was a video:

      "Duru had been working on a prototype for about five years and last August filmed hims

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Sure, it's noisy and blows debris (in this case water) everywhere, unlike the movie version which was completely silent and did not use forced air.

    But the good thing about the hoverboard in the video is that is does not require magic to work.

  • by ArcadeMan ( 2766669 ) on Saturday May 23, 2015 @10:04PM (#49761551)

    "This will revolutionize the way people get hurt in traffic accidents."

  • Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, hoverboarding on the lake. When the disciples saw him shred, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
  • I recall seeing film on TV of a US Army project that had a device very similar to this. It had a man standing on top of a hovering platform with lift provided by fans. I don't recall exactly when this demonstration was performed but judging by the quality of the film, uniform of the "pilot", and other clues it was likely 1950s or 1960s. Perhaps there is a "first" here that I missed.

  • ...he will lear a lot about waterboarding.
  • ...who's first thought was:

    Great ! Yet another noisy machine that ass-hates can use to destroy the serenity of a lake.

The trouble with computers is that they do what you tell them, not what you want. -- D. Cohen