Neil deGrasse Tyson Says Hoverboards Are Still a Ways Off

Illustration for article titled Neil deGrasse Tyson Says Hoverboards Are Still a Ways Off

It’s been the dream of countless nerds since at least 1989. We want our hoverboards, and we want them now. But if Neil deGrasse Tyson is to be believed, we’re going to be waiting for a while.

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The Huffington Post recently talked with Tyson about the likelihood that we’ll see hoverboards like the ones in Back to the Future: Part II anytime soon. He wasn’t optimistic. Despite the fact that companies are developing neat (and incredibly loud) hoverboards, we’re still quite a ways from developing the kind that can work on any surface.

“There are people working on it, and there are working versions of it, but hoverboards that cover everywhere? Where you would have taken a skateboard? I think that’s unrealistic, and it requires a special under surface to support it,” Tyson told the Huffington Post. We’ve been expressing our own skepticism along those very same lines for some time.

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But there’s still some hope for people who might settle for hoverboard skate parks, according to Tyson. “I can imagine hoverboards in certain hoverboard venues where they’ve actually done the physics right in the hoverboard and the ground surface as well,” he said.

So I guess there’s that. You can read about some of the tech that Tyson does think is just over the horizon at the Huffington Post.

[Huffington Post]

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But there’s still some hope for people who might settle for hoverboard skate parks, according to Tyson. “I can imagine hoverboards in certain hoverboard venues where they’ve actually done the physics right in the hoverboard and the ground surface as well,” he said.

This got me thinking... the Hendo Hoverboard is expensive board, cheap surface, which means we could theoretically use it for a Maglev Train whose rail isn’t hideously expensive, right?

Meanwhile, why not make a hoverpark with the smarts in the surface, and dumb boards, that way the ‘play time’ isn’t dependent on batteries and the board is silent?

I’m assuming also that the Hoverboard and inductive power transfer are incompatible for some fundamental reasons, but even if they weren’t: Smaller, lighter, simpler, cheaper boards would seem to be a boon to the concept, no?