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WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF

The weight to lift ratio of drones is getting better exponentially, and this wouldn’t have been possible just two years ago.

 

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Los Angeles based digital creator Hunter Kowald recently unveiled a fully functional “hoverboard” made from industrial grade components, Design Boom reports. As a host of viral videos of Kowald flying his machine show the hoverboard is actually semi-comparable to the famous hoverboard first shown off in the Back to the Future movies.

 

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Unlike Lexus’s sci-fi hoverboard, which relies on pre-installed maglev tracks, and those popular two-wheeled hoverboard devices that don’t actually hover, Kowald’s “hoverboard aircraft” can fly you almost anywhere you want to go.

Kowald’s machine is undeniably more a mountable drone than a flying hoverboard in the true sense, but the flying board is such a staple of popular culture that anything vaguely resembling the sci-fi machines seems to go by the moniker these days.

 

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In a recent Instagram post showcasing his machine, Kowald said, “I’ll never be able to explain the insane amount of work this took. People told me you can’t break the laws of physics. And well … after a global effort of custom part manufacturing and plenty spontaneous fires & explosions… watch me dance.”

 

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The flying machine has, unsurprisingly, garnered plenty of attention online – several videos of Kowald flying his hoverboard have gone viral in recent days, and Kowald claims his machine lifts up to 226 kg (500 lb).

The manned drone was built with a custom carbon fiber structure and was engineered with safety and efficiency in mind – in the event that two motors or one power system were to fail, the hoverboard would still be able to land, Kowald said. The hoverboard is also equipped with lighting certified by the FAA.

In an emergency situation, meanwhile, the machine’s propellers are capable of breaking the speed of sound and “sustain supersonic speed to compensate forces lost,” Kowald explained.

It goes without saying that flying machines are dangerous even if they have numerous failsafe features in place — last year, French stuntman Vincent “Vince” Reffet died in Dubai during a training accident with a jetpack. Still, drone technology is arguably safer, and is definitely more sustainable, than jetpack technology, meaning we may see more designs like Kowald’s in the near future.

About author

Matthew Griffin

Matthew Griffin, described as “The Adviser behind the Advisers” and a “Young Kurzweil,” is the founder and CEO of the World Futures Forum and the 311 Institute, a global Futures and Deep Futures consultancy working between the dates of 2020 to 2070, and is an award winning futurist, and author of “Codex of the Future” series. Regularly featured in the global media, including AP, BBC, Bloomberg, CNBC, Discovery, RT, Viacom, and WIRED, Matthew’s ability to identify, track, and explain the impacts of hundreds of revolutionary emerging technologies on global culture, industry and society, is unparalleled. Recognised for the past six years as one of the world’s foremost futurists, innovation and strategy experts Matthew is an international speaker who helps governments, investors, multi-nationals and regulators around the world envision, build and lead an inclusive, sustainable future. A rare talent Matthew’s recent work includes mentoring Lunar XPrize teams, re-envisioning global education and training with the G20, and helping the world’s largest organisations envision and ideate the future of their products and services, industries, and countries. Matthew's clients include three Prime Ministers and several governments, including the G7, Accenture, Aon, Bain & Co, BCG, Credit Suisse, Dell EMC, Dentons, Deloitte, E&Y, GEMS, Huawei, JPMorgan Chase, KPMG, Lego, McKinsey, PWC, Qualcomm, SAP, Samsung, Sopra Steria, T-Mobile, and many more.

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