Hoverboards are excellent, they look fun, and we want one. But they’re really expensive – like the crowd-funded Hendo Hoverboard, which cost early backers US$10,000 a pop. And then there are the ones that are effectively immaterial, like the super-slick Lexus Slide concept, which does exist but isn’t for sale (meaning it’s pretty much just an ad to make you think about how cool Lexus is… hmm, maybe I’ll buy a car).
But there is one affordable way to get your hoverboard freak on, thanks to an enterprising new crowd-funding project on Crowd Supply. Mr Hoverboard (love the name!) is a DIY hoverboard kit that helps anybody realise their hoverboarding dreams, and at US$420, it’s actually within reach for lots of people.
There is, inevitably, a catch. That price tag fetches you the basic Mr Hoverboard kit, including everything you’ll need to assemble the board itself, but to get this thing up and running (okay, floating) you’ll need to bring your own propulsion system. What?
Don’t worry, it’s not like you need to be a maglev engineer or anything. Mr Hoverboard is designed to operate with some decidedly old-school tech: Black + Decker LSW20 air blowers (sold separately), like the kind you’d use to clean up leaves on your lawn.
Except here they’re a lot more fun. Four of them are pointed downwards, redirecting air underneath Mr Hoverboard and providing enough lift to have you floating on air. It sounds unwieldy, but it works (check the video above).
Another proviso is you’ll need to be fairly light to safely ride Mr Hoverboard. The maximum weight is 72.5 kilograms (160 lbs), which will likely count a lot of wanna-be hoverboard riders out.
But while the comparatively low-tech Mr Hoverboard has its share of limitations, in other ways this is actually the most practical and accessible hoverboard project we’ve seen yet.
Sure, it’s a bit of a Frankenstein-style creation, but it’s affordable and lets you skate on level surfaces virtually anywhere, unlike the Hendo Hoverboard and Lexus Slide, which only operate over special surfaces due to their use of magnetic levitation.
As creator Ryan Craven says on the board’s crowd-funding page, “Though other projects have captivated Internet audiences, there haven’t been any offerings that allow users to hoverboard in everyday environments.” He’s right about that.
And no, you probably won’t look as cool as Marty McFly when you’ve got four air blowers bolted to your hoverboard, but hey – at least you’re hovering, right? And if you hoverboard over your lawn, you could even clean up your garden at the same time. That’s multi-tasking for you, folks!