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A maker of actual hoverboards is now selling Hyperloop engines

A maker of actual hoverboards is now selling Hyperloop engines


Have we reached peak 2016 already?

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Arx Pax, the Silicon Valley-based company behind the Hendo Hoverboard, is now a Hyperloop supplier.

Late last year, the company said it wanted to sell its patented hover engines, which float actual hoverboards an actual 20 millimeters off the actual ground, to Hyperloop designers. Today, the company says it's in talks with both Los Angeles-based startups that are laboring to build the world's first tube-based, supersonic transportation network. And the company is helping participants in next week's Hyperloop pod design competition in Texas, which is being sponsored by Elon Musk's SpaceX.

The company's transformation from dreamweaver of hoverboards to Hyperloops is no surprise. Arx Pax's CEO insists it has always said it has bigger ambitions than just making rideables. Hyperloop is Musk's vision to transform transportation forever, so it makes sense that this is where Arx Pax believes its mark can be made.

So what else is the company doing? It's in talks with most of the participants of this summer's Hyperloop pod race in Hawthorne, Ca. (which is also being sponsored by SpaceX). And it is peddling its unique "magnetic field architecture" technology used to float Hendo Hoverboards 20 millimeters off the ground to the high school and college students participating in next week's Hyperloop pod design competition at Texas A&M University.

"When people can feel this in their hand, and feel the thrust... "

Oh, in case it wasn't clear that Arx Pax was all aboard with the Hyperloop, the company designed its own pod, which looks like a cross between a bullet train and a stormtrooper helmet.

Arx Pax founder and CEO Greg Henderson said his will be one of five companies to showcase its pod design during the competition, which is being held at Texas A&M University. Over 1,000 high school and college students will submit their designs in the hopes of winning $50,000 and a chance to work with both SpaceX and Hyperloop Technologies, one of the Los Angeles-based startups, to build an IRL version of their pods.

"Our hover engines are being purchased for use, along with our developer kits, in SpaceX's test facility they're building in Hawthorne, California," Henderson said. "It's so exciting, because while there are other things that can hover, no other form of magnetic levitation, or any sort of levitation for that matter, comes with its own inherent method of propulsion and control. This is a brand new tool for anyone interested in moving people or objects."

Arx Pax's hover engines run about $20,000 for a set of four, but Henderson says they are having trouble meeting the growing demand. There's currently a waitlist for new hover engines.

Next week at College Station, Texas, Arx Pax will unveil something never before shown in public: a table-top demonstration of the hover engine's "lift force," as well as some handheld prototypes used to demonstrate magnetic thrust, braking, and propulsion, Henderson said. The devices are called Pikas, after the cuddly mouse-like mammals. (Other prototypes are similarly named: the Marmot and the Honey Badger.)

"When people can feel this in their hand, and feel the thrust that's generated by a small-scale hover engine, they get an idea of what's capable," he said. "And that's what we're so excited about."