This is the first of hopefully many future tech roundups where I share some upcoming advanced technologies and how they relate to our lives in reality and fiction. The theme of this roundup is “Hover.” Specifically boards, bikes, and beams. Yes, that’s right. Hover beams.
I would like to thank the creators of these technologies and the news sites that brought them to my attention. Please show your support by following them in social media, and if you really like the tech, and it’s available, buy it! I know I will!
First lets take a look at the Malloy Aeronatics Hover Bike. This is a dream for me. To be able to get on a small flying craft that fits in a normal parking spot, vertically lift off, and
drive fly directly in a straight line to work over the open forests, instead of being of crammed on the road. There are a few flying cars floating around, but I think this is the first flying bike, and because of that simplicity, might be the first readily available, affordable, personal flying transportation option.
In reality, small, lightweight craft like this could revolutionize short commutes and ease up traffic on actual roads if it took off. Where I think this might make the most impact however is for first responders.
Essentially, this helicopter and bike combo, can land and take off vertically, and together with its compact size can fit in to small spaces to save victims. I would like to see a slightly larger version of this with a wider prop spread, 2 seats (the driver facing forward and the passenger facing backward), and a detachable stretcher across the back as the perfect rescue vehicle.
In fiction, imagine some chase scenes with these babies. Or a drone version loaded with a payload of weapons for remote delivery. There could see varying level of cover or casing adding as well. I could see both practical (for protection and storage) and aesthetic (for aerodynamics and style) being popular.
Malloy Aeronatics ran a successful Kickstarter, and continue to take preorder/donations, for the 1/3 actual size drone you see in the video. The revenue from this is going towards getting the life size version ready for production. You can follow and support them here:
The two real (not the autobalancing scooters or the Omni quadcopter) hover board prototypes are from Hendo and Lexus. They both are manipulating magnetic fields to create the repulsion required for hover, but they are getting to the result in slightly different ways. They both, unfortunately need a particular surface to hover.
I’m hoping that they might be able to alter this technology in such a way that it could hover over most terrain, and maybe have back up wheels or props for when the magnetic field is not available. This is where the hover board becomes useful in reality or in fiction (much easier to attain). There is nothing like being able to carry your own personal flying vehicle on your back!
The Hendo one is available for $10,000. It uses battery charged electromagnets in the board and a conductive surface to generate repulsing magnetic fields. Here is the hendo hoverboard website : http://hendohover.com/
Here is the Lexus hoverboard that is not available yet. It uses liquid nitrogen to cool down a super conductor in the board that generates magnetic fields, which then repulses from a very thin, but magnet filled surface.
I feel like the Hendo board has more potential as it is more likely to find conductive surfaces that magnetic ones, but I could be wrong there. I personally still prefer the hover bike.
Hover beams? What the? While I’m not entirely sure on its application yet, acoustic levitation is damn cool.
Acoustic levitation works by precisely placing two equal sound sources opposite each other in such a way that their sound waves collapse into a standing wave. This creates a beam-shaped pocket where the sound pressure does not change, allowing something to levitate.
This episode of Smarter Every Day is the best video on floating things with sound I have seen, including some super high frame rate recordings of water droplets hovering and exploding! Ultra cool must see.
Here is another neat video, released by Vocativ (a really awesome site for tech), that shows a water droplet being shaped into a rotating star while floating in an acoustic field. The shape of the star and number of points changes depending on the harmonic used.
As for fiction, I am reminded about legends of ancient Egyptian and Tibetan monks using sound to levitate giant blocks of stone in order to move them into place easily. The description I read of the Tibetan procedure, as witnessed by a westerner, was that monks would line up on either side of the path the block was to travel along. These monks had giant horns facing the path and the monk across from them also with a horn. This interestingly mirrors the set up of the acoustic levitation with 2 sound sources opposite one another.
The monks along the path would play a constant tone as the rest of the monks would meditate and focus their will on the lightness and movement of the block. Apparently, once the sound was resonating with the block, it would lift just slightly off the ground, but enough to push the brick along without much force.
Using sound to manipulate matter is something we have seen many times in fiction and I believe that sci fi tech will come to pass in the next decade or so. If you have any thoughts on its application, or how it might be set up to be useful. Maybe on a vehicle? enabling it to carry dangerous or heavy material without contact?
I hope you enjoyed this hover focused tech roundup. Until next time, keep pushing the limits!