Hoverboard Rides On Eddy Currents

The famous hoverboards of Back to the Future haven’t quite gotten here yet, but that hasn’t stopped anyone with a unique personal vehicle from using the name any time they need some quick marketing. The self-balancing scooter trend of the mid-2010s was the best example of this in recent memory, but there are also water-propelled platforms that use the popular name as well as a myriad of other more skateboard-like devices that never got off the ground at all. This project from [Damien Dolata], on the other hand, might be the most authentic prototype we’ve seen compared against the fictional version presented in the movie.

The hoverboard uses a set of rotating magnets, referred to in this build as magneto-rotational repulsors, which spin up to an extremely high rotational speed underneath the board. When above a metal surface, the spinning magnets generate eddy currents in the metal beneath them which create the strong magnetic field needed to levitate the board. Unlike the Lexus hoverboard system which used supercooling magnets, this is a much more affordable way of producing magnetic fields but is a little bit more complicated due to the extra moving parts.

As this is still in the prototyping stages, it has only been able to lift around 30 kg and hasn’t been tested in motion yet, but there are two small turbines built into the hoverboard to generate thrust whenever [Damien] gets to that point. It would require a larger metal surface to move across as well, which might be the main reason why it hasn’t been tested this way yet. For any native French speakers taking a look at this project, be sure to fill in any of our gaps in the comments below, and for other ways that eddy currents have been used in transportation take a look at this bicycle that uses them in its drivetrain.

32 thoughts on “Hoverboard Rides On Eddy Currents

    1. What do you want from a concept demonstrator? The “UFO”s we see every day that use magnetic levitation do this at a great distance from the Earth’s conductive core, but you can be sure those have gone through many design generations. And while we’re building up to that stage, the biggest challenge is going to be making the aluminum roads these need to run on. Every tiny crack is going to result is a sort of “head crash” that will damage road, board, and rider alike.

  1. So… Skateboards “work” because they only roll forwards and backwards, not sideways. Sideways they have a whole lot of friction, which is why it’s possible for you to balance yourself and do tricks.

    Even a surfboard has a keel which enables it to be steered and enables you to keep your balance.

    Generating lift is just the easy part…

    1. Oh God these horrible things. And they are horrible.

      Yeah I remember we were going to use some of these for an event until we were told that they really worked best on 1″ thick plates of copper, had a battery life in single digit minutes and sounded like a dozen angry shop vacs in full suck.

      So as soon as we all mortgaged our mothers and retrofitted the building….

  2. Needs large metal surfaces? There are various streets around NYC that are covered with huge metal plates for weeks at a time. That might work as a testing ground, as long as you avoid high traffic times.

    1. Bam….. Kinda like looking at electric motors the opposite way….. Seems drone motors are built opposite nowadays vs old skool….. Stator vs magnets and all…. “Sounds more effecient”, but im not a college grad seeking loan reprieve……

  3. Really so even after he is able to lift the weight of a human being it’s only able to be used over metal ? I would prefer going with a multi lift fan system like a even enormous military hovercrafts use, then he can use the thrust from his rocket’s already installed. Or make a bunch of small rocket thrusters around the board for lift and then dedicated one’s can rotate to propel the board in the direction you desire.

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