While the recent HUVr Tech hoverboard hoax involving Tony Hawk and Christopher Lloyd had the internet buzzing with anticipation, we can now report that a Kickstarter project might finally deliver what we have all been waiting for. Well, sort of ... meet the HoverSkater.
In a design that adds elements of a hovercraft to a longboard skateboard, HoverSkater might be as close as we are going to get (for now anyway) to the legendary hoverboard from Back to the Future. While it may not defy gravity, the addition of the aircushion gives it the ability to slide over terrain that would stop a normal skateboard in its tracks.
Creator Jim Pitts rented Back to the Future in the 90's and went looking for the technology to recreate the hoverboard idea. A series of prototypes followed, with the first weighing 47 pounds (21 kg). "It was too tall to put under a school desk or chair, and it lifted only 175 pounds (79 kg),” says Pitts.
But Pitts believes technology has finally caught up (we'll let you be the judge of whether it has caught up enough), and the HoverSkater is now ready to break cover.
While early incarnations did away with the conventional skateboard trucks and wheels, these were later reintroduced to provide stability. The air cushion is inflated via a remote-controlled air-turbine, while an electric wheel underneath the board provides forward motion and can also be reversed to act as a brake.
The batteries on the current prototype are said to be good for 50 bursts of full-throttle hovering, though this varies with the weight of the rider. There's no specifics as to the weight or carrying capacity of the planned production model at this stage ... but it does glow in the dark.
And the ride? According to the HoverSkater Kickstarter page, "experienced skateboarders, surfers and other sports enthusiasts have said that riding the HoverSkater is unlike anything else they've tried before ... you feel like you are surfing on a bubble of air."
The Kickstarter project for HoverSkater went live on June 1 in an attempt to raise US$22,000. If all goes well it will be available by Christmas 2014 for around $1,500 plus shipping.
You can check out the HoverSkater in action on the following videos.