Vid While record numbers of people around the world are picking up injuries from wheeled "hoverboards" this Christmas season, aerospace company Arca Space thinks it has got the real deal.
"I've always wanted to create a commercially available product for the masses, so I've put all my experience, all my skills, from the last 17 years of developing aerospace vehicles in this amazing new product," said CEO Dumitru Popescu. "But the creation of this truly revolutionary product proves that Arca is not only able to create amazing technologies, but is actually engineering the future."
The ArcaBoard uses a grid of 36 ducted electric fans that, going flat out, are capable of putting out 200kgf (430lb) of thrust, it is claimed.
For an 80kg (176lb) rider that translates into a full 360 seconds of flight, hovering about 30cm (12in) off the ground, before the device's lithium polymer batteries run out of juice.
Balancing one of these things is going to be a challenge, so the 145 x 76 x 6cm (57 x 30 x 2.4in) board comes with stabilizing software to try to keep the rider upright. As a further safety precaution, the forward speed of the ArcaBoard is limited to 20 km (12.5 miles) per hour.
All this technology comes at a price, however – specifically $19,900 per board. That's a lot of dosh for six minutes of flying followed by six hours of recharging the thing. For an extra $4,500, Arca will sell you a fast-charging system that will get you aloft again in 35 minutes.
We've been sold a pup on hoverboards in the past, usually because they either don’t work as advertised or need a special surface to roll over. The ArcaBoard... well, let's just say Marty McFly's hoverboard didn't have any moving parts.
Arca claims its contraption is only slightly larger than a skateboard, and that the slab-like design is intended to reassure people. But, frankly, it looks like a pavement slab levitated from the sidewalk with an alarmed pedestrian on top.
The ArcaBoard isn't as light as a skateboard either, weighing about 10kg (22lb). It's also a noisy little beast, putting out 92dB during operations – about as much as a hand drill – so don't expect much love from the neighbors.
That said, if you can afford nearly $25,000 for a toy like this, you probably don't give a stuff what the neighbors think anyway. ®