Hoverboards will make it in time to greet Marty McFly!

Hoverboards will make it in time to greet Marty McFly!

SINGAPORE - Do you remember exactly what was so cool about Back To The Future II?

No, it wasn't so much the large flat screen TVs, or even the self-lacing shoes. For many fans of the movie trilogy back in the 1980s, it was the hoverboard - the "skateboard" without wheels.

Thanks to engineers at Hendo, a Silicon Valley company, that dream of owning a hoverboard is now so much closer.

The company aims to deliver the first production hoverboards to its backers on Kickstarter at an event on Oct 21, 2015 - Yes, that's the date that Marty McFly went to in his journey to the future, but the company have avoided linking their creation directly to the movie to avoid legal issues.

"Yep, there was a movie. However, our attorneys have told us not to go there. So this is as far as we'll take it," they wrote.

According to Hendo, which released a video showing the hoverboard in action, the hoverboard can now levitate about an inch (2.54cm) off the ground. The board works because of four disc-shaped "hover engines" that create a special magnetic field that pushes against itself to generate lift, it said.

Admittedly, the prototype in the video does not look anything like the slim, streamlined board we saw in the movie, but the design of the final board on the Kickstarter page shows a lot of promise.

The board currently works only on a metal surface - so, no, you can't hover on water yet.

Hendo calls the hoverboard a precursor to wider implementation of its core technology, Magnetic Field Architecture, including hovering modes of transportation (hovering cars!) and even a building that can dodge an earthquake by lifting itself off the ground!

As of print time, the project has surpassed its crowdfunding target of US$250,000 (S$319,000) by more than US$100,000.

However, the first 10 production hoverboards - requiring a Kickstarter pledge of $10,000 each - have all been snapped up. But if you're willing to put up at least US$299, Hendo will send you its Whitebox developer kit, which contains a Hendo hover engine set in a stylish white package that floats on the included surface.

Not exactly self-lacing shoes...

Here a bonus: It's not self-lacing, but the Zubits Magnetic Shoe Closures - now close to 10 times backed on Kickstarter (US$256,486 pledge of US$29,000 goal) - makes putting on your shoes and taking them off so much easier and cooler!

sinsh@sph.com.sg

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