In 2015, Montreal’s Alexandru Duru presented his electric Omni Hoverboard to the world and even came to the attention of the media, receiving an entry in the Guinness Book of Records for flying 275.9 meters above the lake at the height of 5 meters. Since then, a Canadian inventor with Romanian roots has been working on a commercial version of his flying machine and has already received patents for it.
The Omni Hoverboard consists of a frame with eight underslung rotors, a pair of snowboarding boots, and a simple hand throttle made out of modified pliers. Unlike other devices like the FlyBoard Air or, like some jetpacks, the Omni Hoverboard hardly has any complex technology. This thing isn’t even as complex as a DJI drone. The hoverboard has no real flight controller, no automatic stabilization system, and no gyroscope or accelerometer. The maneuvering is carried out using body movements, as on a skateboard or snowboard.
The hoverboard uses an Arduino electronics platform to keep track of throttle inputs and communicate with the machine’s electronic speed controllers (ESCs). “It’s the simplest thing you can imagine,” Duru said of his hoverboard in the interview with DroneDJ. “Really. It’s your body that does the balance. Our brains can learn so many things, and it learns this as another skill. It’s not even that difficult.“
With eight motors, the hoverboard is well balanced, far better than its competitor, Frank Zapata’s Flyboard Air. In addition, Duru’s electric flying machine is much quieter and more reliable.
Duru also speaks about his goal to eventually release a commercial version of his hoverboard in the roughly 30-minute interview – Omni Hoverboards’ website says, “stay tuned for our customer version.”
He has not given details about the price or when it will arrive. But he did say that his company’s hoverboard “will turn into a product that’s usable for real. Not just you’re looking at these guys with jetpacks and thinking this is great, but this is crazy. I really think that here we have something that’s not too crazy.“
The commercial version of the flying hoverboard will probably include more standard parts and extra components that allow greater control and, above all, greater safety when using it. Duru states that may be the target market will only be trained pilots and people with aviation experience, to begin with. “It’s very easy to get excited and start thinking yeah, I’ll get this thing and go to the grocery store on it! But yeah, the FAA is going to come back to you. So there’s a lot of issues in the short term. But I think it’s things that we can tackle one way or another.”