This 'Back to the Future' hover board will blow your mind
Trust us: If hover boards were as real as this one from a mysterious company called HUVr, the world really would be changed forever. Or at the very least, it would be way more fun.
A hover board, like the wondrously 1980s pink variety Marty McFly cruises on in "Back to the Future Part II," is universally accepted as the most awesome thing we don't yet have. The wheel-less skateboard that floats above the ground and travels as if by magic has even become a bit of a pop culture trope recently for semi-sarcastically lamenting the slowness of technological innovation, of wanting the future right now. Sure, we have cell phone computers, car-sized roving science labs on Mars, and gigantic particle accelerators capable of recreating miniature versions of the Big Bang, but a hover board? Now that will be the day.
Unfortunately, anyone who stumbled onto a quickly-going-viral video Tuesday from a mysterious company called HUVr were probably devastatingly disappointed to learn, almost immediately depending on your incredulousness, that it was too good to be true. The hover boards in the video don't just surpass the most advanced superconducting research of as little as three years ago, but blow it completely out of the water.
The board not only sustains more weight than the 100kg limitation of "Mag Surf" -- a hovering technique developed in 2011 that employs a liquid nitrogen-cooled superconductor and a magnetic track -- it can be controlled by a smartphone, lift a person off the ground, travel at high speeds, and seemingly extend a electromagnetic field to curved objects like ramps. "The Future Has Arrived," the company's site reads, with a product launch this December. As far as hoaxes go, this one is well-produced and elaborate.
In an attempt to make it even more believable, demonstrations include Tony Hawk whirring in mid-air, Terrell Owens being vaulted four feet off the ground from a flat-ground standstill, and Moby convincing us that even he, the tech noob that he is, can use HUVr.
There's a good number of tip-offs throughout the video that we're being hoodwinked, namely that ensemble cast of awestruck celebrities that also includes Los Angeles rapper Schoolboy Q, Best Coast's Bethany Cosentino, and Back to the Future's very own Dr. Emmett Brown (Christopher Lloyd). In fact, it's likely that a good number of celebrities were roped into the stunt both because it's hilarious and also because it acts as a solid point of distraction from the fact that no actual members of the supposedly real MIT-spawned company are identified.
Claiming to have developed it at MIT's Physics Graduate Program in the summer of 2010, the team behind HUVr are showcased on the Web site stereotypically folding their arms. In an enjoyable and pointed skewering of a startup's standard hyperbolic nonsense, they describe their hover board with enough buzzword runarounds to make even the most skeptical of Y Combinator diehards clap with joy.
They also look like Hollywood's version of "nerdy startup folk," like the people whose faces it actually put in front of the camera at Google headquarters for the filming of "The Internship" or the actors that made the cut to be in Amazon's "Betas."
The contact page for HUVr has a company email, though no one replied to my request for comment. Neither did MIT, who probably thought that having to debunk a viral hover board hoax video ridiculous. Don't worry, so did I.
There's a few other, more telling hints. Ignoring of course the video's opening disclaimer -- "The following demonstrations are completely real" -- one would only have to wait until the end when things get really wild. With montage music playing, Owens is there catching a football, Moby is filming himself riding the board with his iPhone, and Hawk is doing his best recreation of what his facial expressions looked like ten years ago at the peak of a half pipe exit mid-900. All of the stunts look impossible, even if the HUVr were remotely resembling modern hover technology, and the whole scene devolves into a self-aware parody.
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