Is this $20,000 flying mattress the best Back to the Future hoverboard yet?

4 Jan 2016

This hovering disappointment could be yours for $20,000. Photo via Arca Space Corporation

It’s bulky, it’s loud, it looks dodgy as hell to ride – but it hovers.

The ArcaBoard from Arca Space Corporation just made the Back to the Future II deadline of hoverboards in 2015 with a video revealing the product uploaded on 23 December.

I would have thought this was another hover-hoax if the product being pitched didn’t look so terrible.

Aladdin had a flying carpet but, with the ArcaBoard, you can glide around on what looks like a hulking dayglo mattress.

Beneath the soft tinkling music from the promo video is a beast of a machine housing 36 electric-ducted fans, which would likely drown out any nearby lawnmowers that may threaten to disrupt your peaceful hover.

You can reportedly travel up to 20kph on the ArcaBoard but, judging by the nervous static stances of those in the promo video, it’s probably best not to test the limits of this power. Apparently there’s a stabilisation system inside similar to that found in the self-balancing wheel-boards currently popular with hovering wannabes, but looking at the guinea pigs’ eyes locked on their unsteady feet and you can see the complete lack of trust they have in this technology.

At 272 horsepower, the aerospace company packed more power than most cars into the big ugly block, just so one person can hover hesitantly up to 30cm off the ground for six minutes. Though, if you weigh over 80kg, all you’ll get is a measly three-minute ride.

To attain that six-minute thrill ride, you’ll need to charge the lithium-polymer batteries packed inside for about six hours (or 35 minutes with a specialised rapid charging dock – only $4,500!).

If all that doesn’t deter you and you just can’t wait to join the Marty McFly Hover Gang when these babies are shipped in April 2016, all you need is a cool $20,000!

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.