It looks like the hoverboard featured in the 'Back To The Future' movie series is slowly but surely turning out to be prophetic.
Zapata Racing in France has developed the 'Flyboard Air'. It's claimed to be able to remain in the air for up to 10 minutes in its present form, and to have the potential to reach an altitude of up to 10,000 feet and a top speed of over 90 mph. The inventor set a new world record with a prototype earlier this year, covering the best part of 1½ miles.
Now comes the news that a US company has bought Zapata Racing, with a view to developing an entirely new range of products based on their technology.
Implant Sciences Corporation, of Wilmington, Mass., which makes Explosives Trace Detection (ETD) solutions for the Department of Homeland Security ... signed a letter of intent at the end of July to acquire Zapata Industries...
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The company sees the Flyboard Air as “a real, scalable solution that could really provide what people candidly had only seen in movies and looked at from a science-fiction perspective,” Liscouski said. “It’s a real technology.”
Liscouski acknowledged that not every technology turns out to be a good business idea. “I’m not going to try to overplay or overblow expectations here, we are taking a very rational and business-like approach toward this,” he said. “But you can’t help get excited when you see it. You want one. I want one.”
The company has taken the proof-of-concept Flyboard to various interested communities “particularly with the [Defense Department] and the special operators' community” to find out if they believe there is a practical application for it. “The feedback that we are getting is ‘Yes',” he said. “So that further validated our thinking going down this path.”
The hope is, Liscouski said, to bring the technology into the company and build the company around it. “We think there is a variety of military and other civilian applications, and we think there is a whole, wide-open commercial application to it.”
The hoverboard invented by Zapata Industries' owner Franky Zapata is powered by four jet engines. The controlling mechanism “is sort of where the secret sauce is,” Liscouski said. “Zapata has created their own algorithms to ensure they’ve got the right balance control and redundancies to safeguard an engine failure.”
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Only about 20 hours of training is required to teach someone to fly on the hoverboard.
Liscouski envisions immediate military applications such as classic troop movement — infiltration and exfiltration — but the platform could be scaled beyond just a platform that can accommodate a person standing on it.
“We are looking to scale the platform for supply — logistical supply — and medical evacuation,” Liscouski said.
There's more at the link.
Zapata has produced this video, showing various potential military applications of its technology. It's quite impressive.
If this technology can be developed as the video suggests, it's going to be very interesting . . . and probably also very expensive! Robert Heinlein's 'Starship Troopers' will be one step closer to reality.