In early 2014, comedy publication Funny or Die created one of the most elaborate and successful internet hoaxes that went viral within a matter of hours. Their team came up with a fake company called HUVr Tech, who claimed to have invented a working hoverboard. For their video advertisement, they put together a video featuring skateboarding legend, Tony Hawk, who demonstrated riding the board. They even went as far as hiring Michael Lloyd, who played Dr. Emmet “Doc” in the Back to the Future Films to act out a part. The idea of a hoverboard was such a hit with the online community that the video received four million views in the first two days and gained 112,000 Facebook “Likes” for their “company” page. When people got wind of it all being a hoax, a backlash of angry comments and tweets began. Everyone’s hope for a working hoverboard was over, until Greg and Jill Henderson came along.
Greg and Jill Henderson are the owners of Arx Pax, a company based in Los Gatos, California where Greg developed Magnetic Field Architecture (MFA). He developed this technology in order to build structures in such a way, that with a flip of a switch, they can be lifted out of harm’s way, preventing inevitable damage from earthquakes and floods. Before the broader implementation of this world changing technology, there had to be a first-step product. Therefore Greg made every gadget enthusiast’s dream come true and created the world’s first real hoverboard.
“The hoverboard is the first step to bringing this technology to the world,” says Greg.
After developing the method of using an electromagnetic field to separate a building from the ground, the team designed a hoverboard in SOLIDWORKS. They designed the board with four hover engines that create a magnetic field that pushes against itself to generate lift and levitate one inch above any conductive material such as copper and aluminum. After multiple prototypes and tests, Greg and Jill knew it was time to launch a Kickstarter campaign and put Hendo on the map.
Kickstarter is a website that anyone can use to raise funds for a particular project to include technology, crafts, food and design. The best part about this type of fundraising is the different levels of incentives for donating. The more you donate, the more you receive, and Hendo did it right. They offered incentives from t-shirts and stickers, all the way up to your own working hoverboard. The Hendo campaign started with a $250,000 goal and have now raised nearly a half million dollars. The first $300,000 of it was raised in the first three days! During the success of the Kickstarter, Hendo began receiving national recognition from SOLIDWORKS, The New York Times, CBS, and Time Magazine. All of the publicity is adding to the hype for the launch event on October 21st at their facility in Silicon Valley, where the first batch of hoverboards will be released.
Developers have been trying for years to create a working hoverboard, and Hendo has finally done it. Thanks to them, the promise made by Marty McFly in Back to the Future II that hoverboards will exist by 2015, will be a reality.
“We can’t do everything Marty can do, but we’re a whole lot closer than we were.” –Greg Henderson