The pace of technological advancement is painfully slow when it comes to developing cool vehicles and gadgets from the movies. That’s why this week was a good time for a little bit of celebrating over news that what could someday be a Star Wars hover bike was successfully tested and a hoverboard that Marty McFly might go Back to the Future to try set a record for the farthest hoverboard flight.
Catalin Alexandru Duru recently rode his hoverboard invention 905 feet (375 m) at a height of 16 feet (5 m) over Quebec’s Lake Ouareau, smashing the previous record of 50 meters. Yes, it looks more like a drone than a hoverboard, but Duru managed to stay upright, steer it with his feet and travel over a normal surface (water), unlike another recent hoverboard device, the Hendo Hoverboard, which requires a specially-designed metal surface. Duru says his can fly over land but he chose water because an emergency landing there would be somewhat softer.
The “Flike” is an all-electric personal flight device whose first prototype looks a little like the Star Wars Imperial speeder bike if you ignore the propellers. It’s built by Bay Zoltan, a state-owned applied research institute in Hungary, which describes it as “a coaxial, Y6-layout tricopter, which means that the lift is generated by six rotors, grouped in counter-rotating pairs of three axes, equally located around a circle.” The rider controls the rotation speed of the rotors while an onboard computer automatically controls stability, position and altitude.
In the test flight, the Flike hovered a few meters above the ground for 30 seconds. It looked pretty crude compared to an Imperial speeder bike, but the next prototype – assuming Bay Zoltan gets funding – is at least stylish.
Do either of these devices get me excited? Not yet, but I’m a little encouraged and trying to be patient. How about you?