Our "Back to the Future: Part II" hoverboard hopes rose late last year when tinkerer Ryan Craven showed the Internet how he made himself a working, hovering, rideable gadget prototype. Dubbed Mr Hoverboard, it uses leaf blowers and is basically a small version of a hovercraft, a technology that has been around for many years.
Now Craven is offering anyone a chance to ride their own Mr Hoverboard through a Crowd Supply crowdfunding campaign.
The Mr Hoverboard platform is fashioned from Baltic birch plywood and PVC. Sure, you could probably hack together something like this by yourself, but the kit looks nice and is all ready to go once you add some leaf blowers. Plus, the big "Mr Hoverboard" logo is kind of cool.
So how does this work? "The blowers redirect air through a special PVC skirt attached to the underside by E6100 adhesive," Craven explains. "When the air escapes out of the skirt pattern, it allows the board to hover over the ground."
Assembly is supposed to take just 15 minutes, but it may take longer to learn how to ride effectively. You will need to purchase four Black & Decker LSW20 battery-powered leaf blowers to make your Marty McFly dreams come somewhat true. Each leaf blower costs about $90 (around £59, AU$127).
The kit is going for a $420 (about £277, AU$593) pledge price, which is considerably cheaper than trying to buy a Hendo hoverboard for $10,000. Plus, the Hendo requires a special surface to operate. The Mr Hoverboard campaign is going for a $4,200 goal and so far has raised $840 with 29 days to run. Keep in mind that not all crowdfunding projects deliver as promised.
If you checked out the video of Craven's prototype, then you recall that it sounded like a howling storm. Craven was able to tame the noise quite a bit with the new build. "Thankfully, it was just a matter of using a thicker skirt. It's still four blowers operating at once, but there are no howling/squealing sounds anymore," he told CNET's Crave blog.
Mr Hoverboard isn't the magic answer to our desire for hoverboards like the ones the movie promised we'd have in 2015. It's big. It's a bit loud. It has a hovering time limited by the battery life of the leaf blowers. But it does tick the major boxes by actually hovering and working over regular concrete surfaces. Nobody will mistake you for being part of Griff's futuristic bully gang, though. The real question here is "How bad do you want a hoverboard?"