Talking tech since 2003

Update

huvr-hoaxWell, that was over fast. As everyone with a rational brain suspected, the HUVr hoverboard hoax has been exposed as a Funny or Die sketch. The online resume of a wardrobe director named Lauren Biedenharn has been discovered, with one recent job being described as a commercial featuring “Back to the Future HUVR BOARDS” for Funny or Die. While the listing’s been removed, cached version of the page still lives.

So while we know that it’s all bogus, there is one question that remains. Why? Because I’ll say this: there’s nothing about this commercial that was remotely funny.

Original Post

As everyone knows, the promise of hoverboards in Back to the Future II was the stuff kid-dreams were made of. The sad truth, of course, was that hoverboards were little more than a Hollywood special effect that tapped into people’s hopes that personal flight was possible. Now, a start-up company calling itself HUVr, supposedly comprised of former MIT physics students, claims that they’ve made movie fiction into anti-gravitational reality.

HUVr, which claims the backing of none other than Mark Cuban, has posted a couple of videos online, each starring cast-members from the movie—one with Christopher “Doc Brown” Lloyd, the other Billy “Random Henchman” Zane. In both, we’re treated to supposedly “real” testimonials from famous people who try out the hoverboards, and one shows the celebrities, like Moby and Terrell Owens, trying them out. Take a look:

The other one offers up some pseudo-science mumbo-jumbo about how the hoverboard works. It sure has Billy Zane convinced:

The website’s description of the tech says that the HUVr board uses “high-powered electromagnets made from proprietary materials,” and that it’s “able to lift loads up to 180 pounds a few inches above ground.”

That’s funny, Terrell Owens weighs well over 200 pounds (being a professional football player will do that to a man), and yet the video shows him floating nearly a foot off the ground.

In the end, it’s really hard to take these too seriously. The videos look great, and, really, there’s a part of me that really wants to believe that these are the real deal. Who wouldn’t want hoverboards to be real?

But considering the fact that so many celebrities are involved in the videos, and the fact that such world-changing technology would be debuted like this, makes me more than a little skeptical. I mean, the original special effects for hoverboards were pretty impressive back in the early 90s, and visual trickery has only gotten better since then. There’s no reason why these videos—impressive that they are—couldn’t also be fake.

But that leads to the question: why? If these aren’t the real deal, then what’s the point? What else could they be trying to sell us on?

And if they are real, then why go this route to show them off? The idea that there could be a small, stable, and portable way to generate anti-gravity fields is huge, and has implications far beyond that of replicating a movie prop. So if I’m supposed to believe that the technology here is genuine, how can this truly be the first application for such amazing science?

Take a look at the videos and decide for yourselves. How much would you pay for a hoverboard if this all turns out to be real? And if it’s bogus, then what do you think the ulterior motive behind this campaign might be?

[Source: HUVr]

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