In 2015, hoverboard scooters were the hottest items on most of the Christmas wish lists of both kids and adults. Not only were these self-balancing scooters popular among ordinary scooter enthusiasts. Even celebrities got interested with these mobility devices.While the smart balanace scooter heat seemed to have spiked a couple of years ago and this self-balancing scooter is not literally hovering, the idea of these flying boards first came out even before the 1990s.
If you were in your teens during those years, you would have definitely watched the sci-fi movie about Marty McFly and his adventures of travelling to the future via a time machine and back. In the movie sequel, “Back to the Future II”, there was a scene where Marty borrowed the skateboard of a kid and kicked off its wheels. He then stepped on the board and it turned into a flying skateboard. Movie goers who were watching the film were in awe when the piece of board suspended in the air and sped off.
Fast-forward more than two decades later, 2 wheel electric scooters are available almost everywhere and continuous to be popular. But unlike the one seen in the movie, the smart balance scooters that we see now are not flying but somewhat glide.
A hoverboard works similarly like a skateboard because it has wheels and requires the rider to balance on the board. But unlike the latter which has four wheels, the former has two. Skateboards are also thinner and made from fiberglass or plastic.
The idea of the levitating board was first mentioned in the 1967 novel of M.K. Joseph and was first seen in the “Back to the Future” trilogy. The movie sequence where Marty was being chased by Biff and his friends showed Marty, played by Michael J. Fox, on the hover board skateboard as he tried to escape them and hovering over the Courthouse Square Pond. There was even a sign posted by the pond that said, “No Hoverboarding”. The idea of this hovering mobility device was so popular that there was even a rumor in the 1990s, said to have been come from the movie director himself, that these balancing scooters were indeed real but were not sold commercially that time because of parents who were against it because of safety concerns.
The hoverboard that can be bought from online and retail stores is a motorized board with two wheels and that when used, it gives the rider a feeling that he or she is hovering when onboard this self-balancing scooter. During the fourth quarter of 2014, a company named Hendo was reported to be in the middle of building a prototype of the hover board which was apparently capable of being suspended in the air for at least an inch. This proved to be one of the signs that one day, we can actually have these balance scooters that can fly and transport people from one place to another and not be caught in traffic. The video of Tony Hawk on the Hoverboard 2.0 gives us a glimpse of this technology.
About a year later, Japanese car manufacturer, Lexus launched another prototype, the Lexus Hoverboard, that uses magnets and liquid nitrogen to power the board. They run the “Slide” campaign video that featured the so-called mobility device. Are we going to see a hovering board for real in the future? With the kind of technology we have, nothing seems to be impossible anymore.