When Hendo first took to Kickstarter to unveil its first generation hoverboard last October, people went nuts. The project gathered up more than half a million dollars during the campaign, and ever since then, Hendo has been hard at work perfecting the technology. Now, almost exactly a year later, the company is mere days away (October 21) from officially unveiling the Hendo 2.0 — a new-and-improved hoverboard that’s been rebuilt with the help of legendary skateboarder Tony Hawk.
Hendo’s first model, which reportedly rode incredibly similar to an air-hockey puck, boasted its fair share of disadvantages — including (but not limited to) the fact it was incredibly bulky. For the 2.0, Hendo set out to make the board not only look more like an actual skateboard, but to ride like one, too. That’s when they turned to Hawk. By picking his brain on how a real skateboard handles, Hendo has reportedly been trying to give the Hendo 2.0 a more traditional (and controllable) feel under your feet. No word yet on whether it handles like the version Marty McFly rode in Back to the Future II, but the company’s illustrations do make it look much more attractive.
Though Hendo took to upgrading its hoverboard’s look and feel, the company decided to stick with the same magnetic hover technology native to the Hendo 1.0. By using what it calls “Magnetic Field Architecture,” the development team outfitted the hoverboard with a series of electromagnets which react with generated magnetic fields and currents. By placing the board on a conductive surface, these magnetic currents generate a separate magnetic field which repels the board’s magnets, thus allowing the Hendo to hover.
Still, the fact that owners always need to place the board on a non-ferromagnetic conductor (in other words, a sheet of metal that isn’t iron or steel) remains one of the hoverboard’s biggest drawbacks. However, the team says that it continues to work on finding a way around this. Hendo hopes that those who initially contributed to its Kickstarter campaign may end up providing the company with vital research and ideas for how to get the board to function the same way on concrete as it does on copper. While it’s likely this crowdsourced research may be hard to come by, design partner Arx Pax’s CEO remains passionately optimistic.
“We are looking for those early adopter-visionaries to partner with,” says Greg Henderson. “It’s not a question of ‘if’ this will happen, but ‘when.'”
As it waits for those early adopter-visionaries, Hendo continues to slowly unveil its minor tweaks to the Hendo 2.0 before the big Oct. 21 reveal. The gang added additional charging capabilities to the new model, outfitted the board with a longer lasting battery, included a USB port, and included wireless safety shut off. With this feature, owners have the ability to shut the board down completely even if they aren’t onboard.
With just five days remaining before Hendo’s official unveiling, it remains to be seen just how much of an impact the upgrades and Tony Hawk’s knowledge will have on the finished product. Though regardless of the uncertainty, count us among those wildly interested to see where hoverboards go next.