Humans have been grounded for most of their existence. From Nostradamus and beyond, humans have dreamed of sprouting wings and touching the clouds. When the Wright brothers first got off the ground and into the air in 1903, the course of human histroy changed forever. Now you’re considered an oddity if you haven’t floated up above the clouds and seen the Earth from a stratospheric perspective.
The initial taste of flight has spawned an incredible addiction for many human beings. The limits of what our bodies can handle are being pushed to the extreme; we are discovering new ways of getting airborne. In the future, we will take off vertically from a standstill. Gravity may become a thing of the past. Here are a few examples of how this hover technology is making it’s way into our lives today and in the future.
An Australian gentleman named Chris Malloy believes he is on the verge of creating every Star Wars fans’ fantasy: the hoverbike. It’s tough to resist emulating the Imperial Forces, zooming around at incredible speeds and floating above the ground below. Mr. Malloy wanted to test out the feasability of one of these devices, so he scraped together some old motorcycle parts for a concept that is taking the world by storm.
Malloy was able to resurrect the old parts into a workable model weighing 230 lbs. and measuring approximately 10′ x 4′. The craft operates with two horizontal, human-limb safe blades that rotate counter to eachother to generate lift. To date, safety and balance have not been his focal points. He has only conducted tests with the craft strapped down to the ground. He believes that based on the thrust-to-weight ratio, that the bike could achieve heights of 10,000 feet and speeds of 170 MPH! Emergency parachute and gyro-balancing are yet to come. The possibilites are endless, from search and rescue, to travel, to some of the most incredible races in human history. And you thought it was bad when your son asked to buy a motorcycle.
Many people remember the hoverboard adventures of Marty McFly in Back to the Future. The idea had always seemed too good to be true, but evidently, the concept is somewhat grounded in reality. Using magnets, a couple of amateurs have shown pieces of wood to display hovering capabilities. The idea is similar to the maglev train, which uses magnetic levitation to create frictionless travel at over 200 MPH. The current hoverboard is far from perfect, but it’s not difficult to see a controlled, larger scale hoverboard come into fruition. At the very least, the foundation is there for a design using propellers that you’d be able to stand on and somehow control.
Hovercraft technology has come a long way since it’s inception in the 1950′s. The military has been perfecting hovercrafts for decades for easy transportation of cargo and soldiers over treacherous terrain. High pressure air created by a fan keeps a cushion between a craft and a surface. This enables less friction while traveling and leads to sensational speeds. The technology is becoming more affordable, and thus more mainstream. Expect to see one soon at a lake near you.
Finally, millions of people worldwide suffer from sleep problems. Water beds, memory foam, cotton, feathers and sleep numbers have often been tried to no avail. Several manufacturers claim to give the user the sensation of sleeping on air, but how about literally sleeping on air? Dutch architect Janjaap Ruijssenaars has created a hover bed, and now he’s just trying to make it affordable. The current concept allows the bed to float, but needs to be tethered in place. This concept enables too many possibilities to even begin to discuss right now.
Have you had the opportunity to sample any type of hover technology? Is there anything in your day to day life that you wish would gain the ability to hover?
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