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Today, the HENDO board hovers about 1 inch off the ground.
Photo by: Kickstarter/HENDO

Marty McFly's Hoverboard? Not Quite ...

by Jessica Mulholland / October 21, 2014

In the 1989 film Back to the Future II, Marty McFly escapes danger by borrowing a little girl's pink hoverboard -- and ever since, the American public has dreamed of such a technology. 

Enter the HENDO Hoverboard, the world's first real hoverboard, according to its Kickstarter campaign. Backers of the technology are no doubt pumped -- at 500 people and counting, there clearly is still a market for this new mode of transportation. 

But according to The New York Times, the HENDO isn't quite there yet. "It's not exactly Marty McFly's hoverboard," the reporter says in a video. "For now, it only works on special surfaces, and the battery life is only a few minutes long. And it's tough to ride."

And The Verge described the ride as noisy -- more specifically, "the sound coming out of the hoverboard prototype is like a high-pitched screech," though co-founder Greg Henderson says that likely will subside in future iterations.

The truth is, the HENDO Hoverboard is more of a publicity stunt, according to The Times. Henderson's thought? That if you could make buildings float, or hover, you could build cities to better withstand earthquakes or floods. So his business plan is this: to develop magnetic technologies and license patents to builders, engineering firms and anyone else in the market to hover something.

But, as The Times reported, the public is more interested in hovering skateboards than they are in his ideas for new kinds of building foundations. 

“That’s why we picked the hoverboard: to capture that attention,” he said. “If one in 10 people realize there is another use for this stuff, that would be a great success.”