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The Lamborghini Hoverboard is an invention of designer Nika Motorkhana. It has the appearance of a regular skateboard with one exception; it hovers above the ground without any apparent means.
One additional design feature is a set of airfoils located near the front end of the board. While hovering, the board has a downward pitch of about 2° due to its symmetrical design. The airfoils are used to adjust the pitch to compensate for this effect and keep the footprint (length x width) constant when floating above ground at zero speed. This is needed because aerodynamic forces depend on velocity squared while air resistance does not play a major role due to the low Reynolds number.
The system’s high-efficiency results in long-range with small battery capacity (~20 W/kg or ~4kW-h/kg). The propulsion system provides an average power consumption of around 30 kW depending on rider weight and climate conditions. Nika also mentions that she addressed safety concerns by designing shock absorbers into the construction.
The Hoverboard weighs ~55 kg depending on construction materials and rider weight, while the flying height is around 1 m. The board comes with standard safety features, including a backup battery, flight termination system, a mini propeller for low forward speed, integrated LEDs for navigation in poor visibility conditions, connection ports for sensors (GPS/GNSS – inertial measurement unit), data acquisition system etc.
According to Nika Motorkhana herself, the board costs ~$25M, which will hopefully be brought down by mass production once she finds investors willing to back her idea. She claims that the first ten boards were already sold before this article even went online.
Nika Motorkhana, the founder of The Motorkhana Corporation, claims to have developed the first hoverboard in the world without using magnetic levitation or any other exotic technologies. Instead, her invention employs diamagnetic materials that are repelled by surrounding magnets when electrically conductive material is introduced into the system. Despite its apparent simplicity, there are many challenges in making a working prototype that can sustain itself for more than a few seconds. However, Nika has addressed these issues and built a working board that does not employ any form of exotic technology except maybe some patents she did not want to share with the public so far.
A single-column support surface (lifting surface) works on diamagnetics which repel magnetic fields. This results in an attraction force perpendicular to both gravity and electromagnetism. However, the material is so thin (~1 nm) that the magnetic attraction by surrounding metal parts (magnetic field clamping) counteracts levitation.
To solve this problem, the board contains permanent magnets which are used for stability and motion. The magnetic field of these magnet arrays can be adjusted in three dimensions using superconducting coils to control the strength and direction of both gravity and electromagnetism at will while riding on it. And even better: if no power is applied (which means there’s no electricity demand), it floats due to its own repulsive force caused by induced currents inside itself staying afloat forever.
The propulsion system is a set of ultra-thin electrowetting cells (size: 20 μm x 80 μm) developed by Nika’s team. These cells change the contact angle between liquid and solid surface when voltage is applied, which makes it possible to create a traction force in any direction using simple control circuits. The propulsion system includes four clusters with 16 cells each; one on each board corner facing frontward, backward, leftward and rightward. Each cell has a volume of ~200 nm³, which takes around 10 mA at 120 V power supply to produce enough thrust for rider weight (~75 kg). The total average current consumption is ~1 kW while total energy consumption per km is around 100 Wh, resulting in a range of ~10 km.
The propulsion system includes integrated sensors (GPS/GNSS, gyros, accelerometers) that monitor the position and attitude of the board with high accuracy. The control circuits use this data to provide smooth acceleration and deceleration using feedback loops. In addition, the rider can brake using pressure-sensitive footpads on the rear surface, which also doubles as traction control (similar to Segway PT) and safety backup: if no power is supplied after 5s of continuous riding, the board stops immediately due to lack of speed and grip on safe surfaces without making any sudden movements; completely preventing injuries in case of emergency braking or crash at low speeds.
Nika claims that she has tested her prototype for more than 100 hours. She states that some limitations are mainly due to materials used in the construction of boards. In addition, because of its lightweight, it needs wide open spaces where there is no chance of colliding with any obstacles on the ground, making it unsuitable for most urban areas.
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