Swegways, hoverboards…Jetpacks?

On the 10th of November, this year, the ‘world’s first jetpack’ flew around the Statue of Liberty. It marked a huge milestone in the history of personal transport. For the first time it seems that humans will soon be able to take to the air and fly.

Another recent advance in the field of personal transport has been the so-called ‘swegway’. The device is basically just a segway merged with a skateboard, it has no handle and has a skateboard-like appearance. Swegways themselves are not too common around the streets, in fact they’re quite rare, but the well-known segway is very common in european countries, especially in popular tourist destinations such as Portugal, Spain and France.

Red_self-balancing_two-wheeled_board_with_a_person_standing_on_it

Although these ‘swegways’ are not seen often in the streets they are commercially available from sites such as ‘swegway.net’ which stocks all of its ‘swegways’ from the UK. The prices for these ‘swegways’ have a range of about £325 – £475 (on ‘swegway.net’ – other sites vary slightly in cost.) Although ‘swegways’ aren’t exactly the future of motorsport, they can reach speeds of up to 15kph (~9mph).

Back in 1989, the film “Back To The Future Part 2” traveled to 2015 and showed hoverboards as a means of personal transport. Made by Mattel, a toy manufacturer, the pink hoverboard could float a couple of metres high and move fairly quickly. Many people believed that hoverboards were real at the time of the movie’s release, and were simply being covered up by the government. This of course was merely a myth. Today, hoverboards are real, but float just centimetres off the ground with the aid of magnets.

Hoverboards are real

The car manufacturer Lexus is pioneering the “Slide” hoverboard. With the aid of Liquid Nitrogen stored in a very heavy tank, it floats a few centimetres above special copper surfaces and moves like a skateboard. This equipment is expensive, but no actual price has been given for the test versions. It would cost around £10,000 to lay a copper surface needed for the hoverboard to work, and a very large space if you want to get up to a good pace. More information about the Lexus hoverboard project can be found at: www.lexus-int.com/amazinginmotion/slide

Whilst cars, trains and planes are becoming far more refined than they were merely 25 years ago, personal transport is an ever growing market. Electric bicycles are a common sight in Britain, ‘segways’ are used in U.S shopping malls and skateboards have made a surprising comeback since their fall in popularity in the late 90’s.


Piers Mucklejohn

Jack Lester