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Last spring there was the infamous hoverboard hoax, for which Tony Hawk issued an apology, because some people actually fell for a video release in which Hawk and actor Christopher Lloyd, of "Back to the Future” fame, used a blend of acting and realistic-looking footage to make the futuristic product seem real.
But the hoverboard concept is no hoax. And Hawk, the world's most famous skateboarder, is back as pitch man, starring in a demonstration of the Hendo Hoverboard, which is billed as the first "real" hoverboard.
"This is real, folks," says Hawk, intent on convincing skeptics. "This is the real hoverboard, right here. So forget everything you know. This is it."
In the footage, which was uploaded to Hawk's Ride Channel YouTube page on Monday, Hawk and Dave Carnie are attempting to ride a 90-pound Hendo Hoverboard on a small copper halfpipe.
As viewers can see, the technology shows promise. It’s not the future of skateboarding, and has not evolved to the point where people will soon be zipping around as Marty McFly and other characters were in "Back to the Future II."
But hoverboards have, in fact, arrived.
The devices levitate on conductive surfaces thanks to the power of four disc-shaped magnetic engines. The Magnetic Field Architecture technology, which propels the hoverboards, was developed by a startup company, Arx Pax.
According to the science and technology website, Phys.org, "It can move speedily, if noisily, in multiple directions, as well as turn around. The battery only lasts seven minutes, but that is still enough time to take a grown adult for an exhilarating ride."
Said Arx Pax chief executive Greg Henderson: "We are creating a magnetic field, and then through a method of induction; that's part of our secret sauce, we are creating a secondary and equal magnetic field in this conductive surface."
Arx Pax hopes the technology will someday have widespread and important uses, such as helping to transport large containers or floating buildings above ground briefly, during earthquakes.
But for the time being, Hendo Hoverboard holds the spotlight. The first 10 devices in production sold out in advance, for $10,000 apiece.
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