You might remember Arx Pax’s Hendo Hover with its succesful Kickstarter campaign and marketing with Tony Hawk last year. No matter how cool it looked at first glance and how much coverage it attracted, the Hendo doesn’t have much of a future as a hoverboard due to the need for a conductive surface.
It needs to operate in a controlled environment, much like the hyperloop. The hyperloop’s tube or track is basically a low-pressure controlled environment to make things travels at high-speed with less resistance. It makes the hyperloop and the Hendo technology a good match, or at least Arx Pax thinks so since it is trying to become a supplier for the companies trying to make the hyperloop a reality.
The group already sells kits of its technology to teams developing hyperloop pods for Spacex’s competition. Arx Pax is one of five companies chosen to showcase their technology during the competition at Texas A&M University on January 29-30.
Arx Pax invented and patented what it calls the “Magnetic Field Architecture” or MFA, which uses “magnetic thrusters” to levitate things off the ground. They use solid state magnets embedded in a disk which rotates at high-speed over a conductive surface, like aluminum or copper, which generates a current in the metal and an opposing magnetic field which repels the disk of magnets.
The company describes the advantages of its system:
- Hover Engines provide one integrated system for propulsion, braking, guidance and levitation unlike existing maglev that requires separate systems for each of these functions.
- Vehicles designed using Hover Engines, including trains and pods, can move omni-directionally, something not possible with the wheel and axel. MFA vehicles can go forward, backward and sideways while simultaneously rotating or pivoting in place.
- With MFA, there is no physical contact with the ground, so friction does not exist. MFA reduces the complexity and lowers the cost of tracked systems because all it needs is a passive metal surface over which to levitate. That surface can be curved or flat, and of any width; this enables trains to pass one another like cars do today. (Other maglev systems require extremely complex and expensive active track with continuous active sensing and active adjusting that prohibits trains from operating in close proximity or sharing rail systems.)
- Hover Engine enabled vehicles can bank in a curve to avoid any sideways g-forces that cause passenger discomfort. This allows transports to travel faster and allows for less expensive routing of travel by curving around obstacles instead of having to tunnel through them.
They made a 1/12 scale prototype: