In the future, not only could you be zooming around on a hoverboard, but your house may also float and your robot assistant at work could levitate to avoid obstacles and maintain a sterile space. This may seem too far-fetched to be happening anytime soon, but a company called Arx Pax is working to change that with magnetic field architecture (MFA).
Inspired by maglev trains the co-founders of Arx Pax, Greg and Jill Henderson, wanted to develop magnetic field technology for stationary structures. The original goal for MFA technology was to levitate buildings during earthquakes or floods. The MFA technology focuses on understanding magnetic fields better to manipulate magnetic flux for specific purposes instead of just working to develop really strong magnets and magnetic fields.
How Does It Work?
Arx Pax created the Hendo Hoverboard to demonstrate MFA technology and all of the possibilities it presents. The hoverboard’s engine uses electromagnetic energy and is based on Lenz’s Law. The engine generates a primary magnetic field, which creates eddy currents. The eddy currents generate a magnetic field of their own, which mirrors the primary field causing them to repel one another. When this electromagnetic energy is focused downward, the magnetic fields are capable of causing levitation as pictured above.
The MFA technology has the potential to be used for innumerable applications beyond levitating buildings. Magnetic fields could be used to create hovering robots capable of cleaning a medical facility and keeping it perfectly sterile. Certain manufacturing and industrial tools like fork lifts could be replaced by magnetic field technology for a safer and more efficient workplace. Even NASA recognized the potential for the magnetic field technology and partnered with Arx Pax to develop a magnetic ‘tractor beam’.
Despite the countless opportunities for innovation, the MFA technology isn’t ready to levitate skyscrapers just yet. At the moment, the first eleven hoverboards will be presented on October 21, 2015, but hovering large structures may be a few more years down the line. In the meantime, you can join all of the innovators inspired by the Arx Pax hoverboard who are excited by all the possible applications for MFA technology. What other uses for this magnetic field technology can you think of?