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.

57 thoughts on “Hoverboard comes to life

  1. not an installation.
    (echoes the classic “not a hack” comment.)

    the word installation is misused constantly.

    a super simple and complete definition of installation art can be found on wikipedia:

    “Installation art describes an artistic genre of site-specific, three-dimensional works designed to transform the perception of a space.”

    while it holds three dimensions, it is not site specific and more importantly it does not transform space at all.

    wouldn’t it sound funny to an EE if i kept saying capacitor when what i was clearly referring to a resistor?

    yeah, its like that.

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

    About the thing: Technical issues aside, I would have done a little more research on what the “actual” HB looked like. That’s not even close. The shape is wrong, there’re no “Mattel” logos (which is understandable, but something “similar-but-non-infringing” could have been used), and the “hover discs” are completely wrong. It’s probably not even the right shade of hot-pink (assuming there is such a thing as the /right/ shade of hot-pink :P).

    @Nils: three words: Google, Image, and Search.

  3. Wow, if half you guys are as good at electronics as you are at snark, there must be dozens of inventions pouring out of this group.

    The best techs I’ve known answer with something that works. Of course, that’s harder.

  4. @To all “I could have done that”
    If you could, why didn’t you. This is an extremely good project, and no, it isn’t just two magnets repelling. I once tried to do something similar and failed.
    If it was only two magnets repelling, it would flip around and attract. This has to use electromagnets, controlled somehow by a micro-controller. This isn’t trivial nor easy. If you need more persuasion, check Earnshaw’s theorem

  5. then again, i was reading somewhere about “optical tweezers” ..

    seems that if a way could be found to make a sufficiently homogenous circular laser beam around the area of the base, if the space was filled with relatively small electrically charged particles (aka dust) the repulsive forces between the particles could levitate the board.

    no magnetic fields required at all, just a very powerful red laser array and a high voltage supply.

    in this case action-reaction forces make it work, the laser beams act as a potential gradient and “force” the particles to do work.

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