Awesome Stuff: Flying Cars, Hover Bikes And Ultrasonic Levitation

from the float-away,-float-away... dept

For this week's awesome stuff post about interesting crowdfunding projects, we've got three campaigns that have to do with... leaving the ground behind in some form or another. I'm not sure any of them are practical, but let's not let reality get in the way of fun ideas.
  • The OverDrive Flying Car
    Where's my flying car? That line has been repeated for decades, after the futuristic promises of the 1950s never really came to be. Every so often someone tries it, though, and the latest is The OverDrive -- a sports car that turns into a flying car. Well, in theory. At this point, it doesn't seem to be much beyond a plan and a remote controlled-scale model. It's kind of a moonshot idea and you'd have to believe in the guy behind it to bet on it -- especially since you're not actually buying much here, just supporting his vision. So far, it doesn't look like he's going to get anywhere near the $250,000 he's seeking, but dreamer's gotta dream.
  • Hoverbike
    Okay, moving slightly down the "ambitiousness" scale, how about a Hoverbike that is kind of like a giant quadcopter drone... but that a person can (theoretically) ride. That's sort of the idea, though what these guys are really selling is the 1/3-scale model drone. In other words, it's really just a drone that they're selling, with the idea that one day they'd like to make a hoverbike version of it.
  • Ultrasonic Levitation
    Moving way, way, way, way down the ambitiousness scale to something that's actually more plausible, there's the ultrasonic levitation device that will allow you to make tiny, little things float in the air. Kinda neat in a science-experimenty way. The guy behind it hopes that it will inspire people to build real hoverboards, but I wouldn't bet on it.
That's it for this week. Feel free to go outside without too much worry about flying cars and hoverbikes zooming around just yet...

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2014 @ 9:53am

    Unless human carrying flying vehicles for public operation are autonomous only, I don't want to see them.
    There is barely a day that goes by where there isn't a car wreck somewhere along the path to or from work.
    People can't help but get into accidents. Now imagine that at flying altitudes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2014 @ 10:48am


    Don't worry too much; the proposed flying cat might look good on the drive with its wings attached, but I suspect it would have an accident before it got off the ground. As the nose comes up in rotation, and it rotates about the back wheels the propeller's geometry is likely going to be modified by contact with the ground.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Rekrul, Aug 16th, 2014 @ 4:48pm

    The problem with all the flying car ideas is that they try to turn the car into a plane, complete with wings. Which means that it will need to take off and land like a plane, using a long, empty, smooth stretch of ground. Such areas are in short supply outside of airports.

    As for the hoverboard; I'm surprised that nobody has tried to build a working version yet using magnetic levitation. Build an indoor arena with powerful electromagnets under the entire floor and build the boards with strong magnets in them. You switch on the electromagnets and the board levitates. Sure, it would be hard to balance on such a board, but skilled riders could probably adapt. I mean people can ride those crazy skateboards with just one wheel at each end and you can't even step onto those with it wanting to tip over. The big question is if it could be made powerful enough to levitate a person.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Scote, Aug 16th, 2014 @ 10:09pm

    I misread the summary for "The OverDrive – Ultimate in Personal Transportation". Thought it said "Kook Starter." Now I'm thinking that might actually be a better name, one that fits these projects. Maybe Kickstarter needs to make a spin off?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. icon
    Tom Landry (profile), Aug 17th, 2014 @ 4:43am

    re: Overdrive. Listen to the scale model video and tell me that whackjob didn't overdub the sound of a full sized plane motor.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2014 @ 8:13am


    Many automobile drivers are poorly trained in the practice, are too easily distracted and then attempt to divert responsibility after having caused an "accident".

    If this scenario were replicated above our heads, much damage to person and property would ensue.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. icon
    Rabbit80 (profile), Aug 17th, 2014 @ 10:30am

    Why the hell can't we just have small, cheap personal quadcopters - much like the cheap drones you can buy? eg.. a full size one of these:

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. icon
    OldMugwump (profile), Aug 17th, 2014 @ 1:43pm

    Re: Why

    "Why" is because batteries.

    I've looked into this. Batteries suck the proverbial monkey balls.

    They just don't hold enough energy to keep something with any reasonable payload flying for more than about 15 minutes.

    (45 minutes absolute tops if the payload is nothing but batteries).

    Until batteries get a lot better, or there's another lightweight, high-power-density way of getting electricity, we aren't going to see practical person-carrying quadcopters.

    (And, really, you want a lot more than 4 props in anything carrying a person - you want enough so the thing will keep flying if 1 or 2 of them breaks).

    I'm hopeful about fuel cells, but then I've been hopeful about them for decades and still nothing much has happened.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Ace, Aug 18th, 2014 @ 6:07am

    Re: Moller International

    Every time I see the flying car concept brought up, I never see any mention of Moller International. They've been working toward this goal for decades now, with millions of dollars of financing, and a realistic view of the logistics and laws that would actually apply.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    John Cressman, Aug 18th, 2014 @ 10:44am

    Flying/hovering car

    What they need is to adapt drone technology with light weight car frame and have a hovercraft that can get me over the latest traffic jam. Of course... if everyone has them, then we just have a massive air jam instead.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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