In late January 2016, Philippe Maalouf, a Canadian entrepreneur, had something to say to hoverboard fans. He plans to make a hoverboard that, as he puts it, ‘actually hovers’. This piece of recent hoverboard news highlights the fact that most hoverboards are in fact unable to hover at all as they are on wheels. Pointing this out, Maalouf has announced his intention to give hoverboard lovers what they really want: a hoverboard that hovers in the air without wheels!
What will this new board be called?
Maalouf’s company is called Omni Hoverboards, and he and his team’s new creation will accordingly be called the ‘Omni Hoverboard’. Or, for short, you can simply refer to it as the ‘Omni’. It has already been tested above water, and in these contexts the test user has flown a few feet above the surface of a lake.
How will the Omni work?
When you flip over your Omni board, instead of the traditional two wheels, you will find an array of helicopter blades. These blades rotate into action and push you into the air, enabling you to truly hover.
Can we get one? How much?
The board is still at the planning stages at the moment, unfortunately. But, several details of the board are already being discussed. For instance, Maalouf has said that he will be using gasoline powered engines rather than battery powered ones because battery packs can be weighty and thus prevent you from enjoying that all important sensation of flying along effortlessly in the air. When it comes to pricing, though, we can reveal that Maalouf aims to sell each individual board for between $25, 000 and $50, 000 on the retail market.
The estimated release date for the Omni Hoverboard will likely be some time in 2017. So, not too long to wait.
What will the applications of this new board be?
Maalouf envisages his new hoverboard as having a wide range of potential applications, in military, civic, and leisure contexts. For instance, he has suggested in a recent interview that the Omni board could be used to inspect bridges over rivers (remember, it has been shown to work really well for hovering over water). In fact at Hoverboards Electric, they’re currently promoting the recent models: http://hoverboardselectric.com/
But will it still be fun?
Of course! Leisure users can splash out on a hoverboard and enjoy the fun of hovering about the backyard, racing friends, or skimming over the surface of a lake. Maalouf has said that the sensation of hovering on his new hoverboard will differ from the sensation of hovering on traditional models in the following way: on previous hoverboards, users felt like they were hovering on something, flying about on their board. But, with the Omni board, you will feel like it is you yourself who is actually flying, Maalouf states.
Are there any similar companies to watch out for at the moment?
A similar company is Arca, which is traditionally an aerospace firm. They have also developed a hoverboard without wheels. Unlike the Omni board, this board from Arca flies using fans powered by electricity. Which one will be better? Well, that remains to be seen. The Arca board is certainly less expensive as it comes in at a mere $19, 000. However, you will need to charge it too: and the charger costs an additional $4, 500!