I’m sure you guys have all seen the Hendo Hoverboard in the NY Times recently. Its a fantastic piece of technology and FRC Team 649 got a chance to get up close and personal with it and hover the very first FRC Robot!
Hoverboard robots will never fly with the GDC, but in the mean time our 2013 robot Tobiko (Flying Fish in Japanese) has finally decided to live up to her name, hovering like the discs she shoots!
Special thanks to our friends at Arx Pax and Hendo Hoverboard for making this a reality.
The problem with hendo in this use, other than the copper floor requirement, is that AFAIK it can only be used to make things hover, it can’t really be used for propulsion. It works by creating a magnetic field with the copper, and as the copper is flat, the field is only going to push up, normal to the surface of the copper.
Nope! I had a chance to see propulsion using the Arx Pax MFA (Magnetic Field Architecture) at their lab Its just a matter of how you shape the field, think of it this was, if the field is stronger on one end it can control propulsion by tilting and then driving the object (robot) forward.
Currently the system runs about 40kwatts/kg just for floating. Movement will come through shifting you center of mass to tilt the board, so, if I understand correctly, no extra energy in terms of the hover engine itself (you will of course have to find a way to move your COM). Basically, in terms of speed, availability, and efficiency, wheels still have the upper hand. Itll be a while before hover engines will be reasonable for long time periods.
But it floats so all these criteria are thrown out the window and hoverboard wins again.
EDIT: Apparently you can also change the strength of either engine to move too