You can bet that a lot of people would step into line to try this out if the cost of the fuel and the experience wasn’t bound to be so insanely high. Those are actual jet engines, resized of course so that Colin Furze can actually wield them after enough practice, that are propelling him off the ground. While the whole thing feels a bit impractical, especially since it would take hours to train every single person and the unit costs would probably be way too high to make this available for the average consumer. Using this method to bring to life the illusion of the hoverboard from Back to the Future II however is a cool effect all the same since letting the engines do all the work to get the shot is still a lot of work. Trying to master the use of the engines can’t be easy since the heat coming off of each engine has to be immense, and the thrust sounds absolutely insane when it comes to the kind of power that Colin is working with. The fact that he decided to go without the tether was enough to make me wonder just how much of a death wish he really has. But thankfully he didn’t go that high or that fast and managed to maintain a very sedate flight before touching down again. Obviously he has experts helping him and is geared up for safety, but accidents can still happen.
Back to the hoverboard though, it’s fair to say that technology is still waiting for the day when an actual board can defy gravity and become more than science fantasy, but as Bryan Nelson of MNN writes there are plenty of people that are currently trying to wrap their heads around inventions such as hoverboards, lightsabers, invisibility cloaks, and so on and so forth. Essentially the idea is that turning science fantasy into science fact is going to be possible eventually as the efforts of so many to make it real are continually forcing people’s minds down pathways that they might not have considered before. From sound waves to electromagnetic fields the idea is to use the world around us and everything in it at our disposal to make what amounts to everything from creature comforts to weapons of mass destruction actually come to life and work as they’re expected to. Imagine someone coming up with the idea for a lightsaber, or actually taking the technology from the current Invisible Man movie and making it work without fail, that’s flat-out terrifying. As altruistic as many people want to be in thinking that such pursuits could make the world a better place, a lot of it would no doubt go towards making the world a more uncertain place at best since this kind of technology tends to make some folks think that martial superiority is theirs because they have the biggest and most versatile stick in the world.
But to be fair we’re talking about a hoverboard, a toy more or less, that has yet to be fully realized as it was shown in the movie and still has to have wheels to operate since no one has yet perfected the idea of a board that can go pretty much anywhere using a power source that’s fairly unreliable given the technology that’s currently on hand. Jet engines would definitely work a little better, but their reliability and the very likely possibly that they might be given military applications is kind of frightening really. Obviously the rig would need a serious redesign since despite being shielded by the body in front of, the fuel pouches in the rig still feel horribly exposed and the likelihood of damaging the apparatus would be humongous if a soldier was to use this in the open. As far as using it for enjoyment there doesn’t appear to be much harm in the doing since it’s being observed by a professional that knows what he’s doing, hopefully, and was able to help Colin maneuver the rig around and get the hang of it. At that point though the whole hoverboard idea just kind of became a bit moot since without actually working on the technology to get it to work this became a video about having fun with a jet engine backpack.
It feels safe enough to say that one day the technology that human beings love to work with so much might reach the limits of our imagination, or at least meet us halfway, but at the moment a lot of the things we can think up are a fantasy and a fiction that many feel is worth striving towards. How long it will take us to make them reality however is anyone’s guess since we’re working with the limitation of the world we live in as well as our own understanding.