Hoverboard comes to life

This installation by artist [Nils Goudagnin] is a recreation of the hoverboard from Back to the Future II. We would like to see inside that plinth. We’ve seen levitating magnets before, but this is particularly stable. He says he is using lasers and a control system of some kind to stabilize it. Just to guess, we’d say that the lasers determine the distance of the board and an array of electromagnets below is adjusted to keep it level. Then again, we might be over thinking this. Even though it can’t be ridden, we’d love to have one around the office just to look at.

Comments

  1. matbed says:

    The fubiz.net website says that there is an array of electromagnets in the base so your probably correct with your guess

  2. Daniel says:

    Are you Freaking Serious i could put magnets under a piece of woos and call it a hoverboard wow it sure looks cool but it just sits there it dont move you cant ride it nowhere whats the big deal is this really worthy of hackaday no its a joke now when i see it getting rode down the street then ill say wow till then its a big joke

  3. NatureTM says:

    I want to know how the lasers come into play. Time-of-flight distancing seems impractical and expensive for something so precise. Maybe the beam is on an angle and distance is measured by optically sensing where on the board the beam hits like some of the cheap golf rangefinders.

  4. Hackius says:

    Him being an “artist” I believe it’s something simple and rather off the shelf or cooked up by a friendly engineer

  5. theMechanic says:

    before i clicked on this i was genuinely excited with the header… im am sadly let down :(

  6. I bet they’re mis-identified IR rangefinders.

  7. DeFex says:

    Is it just me or do “artists” usually do original things rather than taking stuff from movies?

  8. nemo says:

    This artist’s project got me thinking (like good art is supposed to do). How could you make a real hoverboard? What technologies are left to be created to allow such a thing to be constructed?

  9. nebulous says:

    @ nemo
    Anti-gravity.

    Just so you know, that’s a biggie.

  10. mars says:

    *yawn*

  11. alankilian says:

    I love it when artists start tinkering around with technology.

    Sometimes it results in fantastic art. I mean, would
    you rather see paintings of fruit or this kind of
    thing in your local art museum? (Both I say.)

    Ad to everyone saying it’s a trivial project, let’s
    see yours.

    I tried to make an inverted pendulum since it’s so easy, and I got it to work. I was
    surprised how hard it was to get it mostly working, and so now I’m building a better
    mechanical system and I’m trying again.

    Everything’s trivial until you try it, and the
    negative people always want to sound smarter
    than they are by putting down accomplishments by
    others.

    Oh hey, I DID manage to get a stirling engine
    running after trying for 3 years or so! That was
    also a “trivial” accomplishment according to
    others.

  12. Thyrth says:

    hmmm (wheels turning) So my 7th grade project was shot down for nothing!!!

  13. zeropointmodule says:

    i recall reading somewhere that in theory a cylindrical magnetic “force field” could be inflated with air or another gas to form a gas filled balloon between the hoverboard and ground.

    this might just lift its own weight, but the argon cylinder, HV power supply and confinement magnets would be pretty heavy.

    A tethered version of this might work though.

    combine with some sort of advanced battery that could store 1 MWh worth of power and it would probably be self contained.

  14. j_at_chaperon says:

    You have 5 years left to make it useable !

  15. osgeld says:

    “but this is particularly stable”

    yes it is as it sits there undisturbed

  16. Einomies says:

    @alankilian

    Stirling engines are trivial to make if you understand the mechanics behind it. Yours seems to have too much travel, too much friction and too much dead space to work efficiently.

    Kids build them out of soda cans and popsickle sticks for fun, and they seem to work better than yours.

  17. Volfram says:

    @zeropointmodule

    The physics of electromagnetic flux is a bit beyond me, but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t work like that.

    Typically, you need either a ferroid or an electric current to have an effect on a magnetic field, and if you’re trying to rest something atop the field, it would be easier to manipulate the shape of the field using coil structure and signal adjustment than pushing on it with gaseous matter.

  18. fenwick says:

    A maglev moving at 361 mph, now that’s art.

  19. alankilian says:

    @Einomies Do the kids’ Stirling engines run off
    a 25 Watt ilghtbulb like mine?

    You’re a prefect example of what I’m talking about.
    You’re putting my results down based on what you
    you know about something.

    Where’s yours?

  20. alankilian says:

    That should say “what you think you know about someting.”

  21. Lunerfox says:

    It might be the case that a full on “Back to the Future” style hoverboard might not be feasible at this time, but I imagine that you might still be able to build something that runs on a rail system, basically creating a smaller scale version of a bullet train.

  22. Esker says:

    This isn’t art. It’s a nifty thing to display in your house, but art requires something creative, by sheer definition. It’s like calling scale modelling “art”.

  23. greycode says:

    What kills me about some of our nay sayers, is that they tell you how trivial, and how anyone can do this, and how this is stupid. Yet, you can barely read what they say, it is often like looking at someone typing with their foreheads. “This is be so stoopid, I r much smrartar and teh best at what me do!” You sound like a caveman.

    If you have to tell us how stupid something is, first use a spell check, and maybe read it to yourself before hitting the Submit Comment button. You might also want to experiment in the vast technical field known as “punctuation.” Learn what words to capitalize. We know you can drag wood, but do you know how to spell it? Make an attempt to sound like the smart genius you are. Right now, you sound like you could not make a hammer hit a nail. There is no way that you are going to convince me you know anything at all until you at least sound like you are not going to school on a short bus.

  24. cow_juice says:

    @alankilian

    I saw a 7th grade project that ran off the heat of your hand, so yeah. good job tho, do a little more research and you’ll get there!

  25. Hirudinea says:

    Just an asthetic thing I’ed like to see the hoverboard replaced with a model ship, I think it would be cool just to see a ship floating there.

  26. NatureTM says:

    I was looking into how exactly this would be accomplished, and came across this good how-to:
    http://amasci.com/maglev/magschem.html

    I’m still wondering exactly what the lasers might be doing.

  27. Michael says:

    @Daniel: Its isn’t as simple as gluing magnets, it would just flip over. My guess is that it has several electromagnets that change power to keep the board in balance, using the lasers to track displacement.

    @greycode: Well said

  28. Scatterplot says:

    I will chime in among the group saying this is not hackaday worthy. Behold my spelling and grammar!

    While interesting to look at, this is not a hack, nor is it that technically complicated. To someone not familiar with engineering, it is a great job- I’m sure he worked hard on it and it’s great to see people learn more about engineering and science, but, as a professional engineer, this is not that hard. Nor is it anything remotely close to making something at all like the hoverboard in BTTF. This also doesn’t get me thinking about the possible technical hurdles of a real hoverboard- that’s what the movie was for. If I were to make the same thing but used small strings to hold it up, would anyone think it was anything impressive? Of course not. Yet using magnets is supposed to somehow impress me?

    A novel discussion piece, worthy of congratulations to the designer, but hardly groundbreaking.

    And to the billion and one people who keep saying “Well if it’s so easy to do, build one yourself!”… why would I do that? Since when has identifying something as being easy required proof by actually doing it?

  29. insom says:

    > And to the billion and one people who keep saying “Well if it’s so easy to do, build one
    > yourself!”… why would I do that? Since when has identifying something as being
    > easy required proof by actually doing it?

    (IMO)
    It is not the identification that is the problem, but the incessant posting of “/Solving world hunger/ -oh that’s easy, come back when you actually have aquired some skills why don’t you.”
    that people get tired of.

  30. Ken says:

    Scatterplot: Earnshaw’s theorem explains why this is a non-trivial undertaking. So yes, you should be impressed.

    Of course, this likely made use of off the shelf magnetic levitation equipment. In particular, I am thinking of a platform by Levatron that can lift up to 4oz.

  31. Squirrel says:

    @NatureTM there are different ways than TOF for shorter-ranged applications. Do some research (it’s been a while, but the phrase “Phase Difference” comes to mind).

  32. rtgagasdg says:

    @alankilian My stirling engine runs on a cup of tea; made in about an hour. So suck it. Yeah he was rude but generally that’s what analysis is about; judging something based on what you know it could do and be.

  33. spyder_21 says:

    That’s cool though, would go perfect in any Back To The Future fan.

    Not really a hack but still cool.

  34. alankilian says:

    @scatterplat: Waiting for your fantastic engineering hacks to be posted.

    Until then, hot air it is.

    (I showed you mine, you show me yours.)

  35. tiuk says:

    Would have been interesting to see him poke it from the side rather than hitting the top.

  36. NatureTM says:

    @Squirrel

    Phase difference led me to read about inferometry. Thanks. I’d be surprised if thing is that complex, though.

  37. NatureTM says:

    er interferometry that is.

  38. Inopia says:

    Not very original. A lesser rip-off of Dutch artist Wim T. Schippers’ work ‘het is me wat’, which loosely translates to ‘ain’t that something’. It’s essentially a floating rock, held in place by electromagnets and doppler lasers. The engineering was done by people from Delft university of technology, it can be seen at the Boymans van Beuningen museum in Rotterdam.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/de_buurman/3766389225/

  39. Inopia says:

    ps: ‘het is me wat’ is from 1999.

  40. Kris says:

    Did the over the top hipster marketing-production-value get this posted? I’m totally doing a parody of this video with a thinkgeek floating pen. :|

  41. Daniel says:

    @Scatterplot Thank You and to everyone else im sorry that i dont care how i type they are just words no matter how there put together i may not be able to talk the talk but most who can dont have what they say they do money holds me back you can say im stupid dumb whatever the fact of the matter is i got IT I know i do and anyone i know can tell you the same thing it is trivial if i had the capital id show you what a real hoverboard is one day youll see

  42. Daniel says:

    oh and im Not Trying To Brag Im Smarter Than You im just tryin to say this aint hackaday worthy sorry i got bad grammer i hated english sue me

  43. greycode says:

    @Daniel If you want money, you will have to learn how to speak the speak and write the write. No one is going to look at a sales brochure with your writing skills and say, “That man needs my million dollars.” Not speaking the language, or writing it correctly will permanently translate whatever you want to communicate into “Want fries with dat? You should try and learn it for your own good. No matter what your white paper says, you could very well have the cure for cancer, will be read if it looks like you could have been typing with two ball peen hammers.

  44. roger says:

    If you increased the voltage of the electromagnet could it be useable? or hazardous?
    Could you build a useable half-pike jump?

    Alternativly could it be possible to hack together wireless electric, AC 2 DC circuit board, and a snowboard covered in tinfoil. Thus have two high voltage DC currents repelling each other, creating the lift. You might have to look silly with a small rucksack, but it would be worth it!

  45. Daniel says:

    @Greycode I Aint Askin For Money Why YOu GottaBe Such A Hater Ill Type How I Want Deal And Anyway Who SAys Im GonnaBe Writhing The Brochure i Got People TO Do that For Me

  46. Daniel says:

    There Are many more Ways of Communicating besides the english language like i said there just words

  47. Cynic says:

    Voting @Daniel troll of the month.

  48. prem says:

    dont feed the trolls.

    this shit is awesome though. i mean, its not so much about the difficulty, it’s the execution and it sure as hell beats another arduino tweeting toilet

    shout outs to NatureTM for the link on magnetic levitation

  49. Squirrel says:

    Yeah for anyone still interested on the types of laser rangefinding techniques, the Wikipedia article lists:

    Technologies

    Time of flight – this measures the time taken for a light pulse to travel to the target and back. With the speed of light known, and an accurate measurement of the time taken, the distance can be calculated. Many pulses are fired sequentially and the average response is most commonly used. This technique requires very accurate sub-nanosecond timing circuitry.

    Multiple frequency phase-shift – this measures the phase shift of multiple frequencies on reflection then solves some simultaneous equations to give a final measure.

    Interferometry – the most accurate and most useful technique for measuring changes in distance rather than absolute distances.

    from:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laser_rangefinder

  50. Volfram says:

    @roger

    I believe it would be as simple as changing the desired distance setting on the laser to increase the hover altitude. The electromagnets are probably strong enough to suspend the hoverboard as much as over a foot away, but you quickly run into stability problems with that.

    The difficulty with making it a usable hoverboard similarly rises from stability problems. Yes, like magnetic poles repel, but unlike poles still attract, so absent other forces, a magnet suspended above another will simply “do a barrel roll” and stick upside-down. This would be undesirable with a rider, and the reason the board is stable in the exhibit, I suspect, has more to do with the pillar it levitates over than the board itself. In short, to make something like this work, you would have to have a set of vehicles underneath the ground suspending the board above them: an engineering feat which gives logistical nightmares logistical nightmares, and the riders couldn’t get close to each other or the boards would start interfering, causing the balance issues to arise again.

    Also, it’s “half-pipe.” A half-pike is called a stick.

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