Why The Maker Of This Hovering Vehicle Won’t Call It A ‘Hoverboard’

Seconds after Dumitru Popescu first levitated about a foot off the ground of his aerospace company’s warehouse, he fell to his knees and screamed.

They had really done it.

He and his colleagues at Arca Space Corporation had built a mattress-shaped vehicle that hovers in midair and, when its stabilizing features are switched off, allows riders to surf on the thrust of three dozen high-speed fans.

But he won’t call the device, unveiled last week in a video posted to Arca’s website, a “hoverboard.” The term, popularized by the 1989 film “Back to the Future Part II,” has lost its meaning.

A litany of Chinese manufacturers have already co-opted the word, swiping it to market their potentially explosive, two-wheeled, hands-free Segways. Popular as they have become, none of them actually, uh, hover.

“It may stretch the limit of common sense, since those are definitely not hoverboards in the literal sense,” the chief executive of the New Mexico-based Arca Space Corporation told The Huffington Post by Skype from Bucharest, Romania, on Tuesday. “They’re wheeled vehicles that are traveling on the ground.”

Instead, he calls his flying machine the Arcaboard.

Propelled by 36 electric docket fans spinning at 45,000 rotations per minute, the board levitates vertically off the ground much like a Harrier Jump Jet. Like the other so-called hoverboards, it’s powered by a lithium ion battery. But unlike the others, this one is powered by the same type of high-quality lithium polymer units used in its suborbital vehicles, so it won’t burst into flames and explode.

It’s not the first actual hoverboard. But unlike the concept device unveiled by luxury automaker Lexus in June — until now, the closest anyone had come to a levitating board —> Read More