Hoverboard company Arx Pax teams with NASA in creating Star-Wars like tractor beams or microsatellites.
The partnership between Arx Pax and NASA was recently announced. Nonetheless, their joint project is still shrouded in mystery. A few details have transpired from statements coming from both sides, and we must say, it looks exciting.
Arx Pax’s hoverboards are making use of a technology known as Magnetic Field Architecture, developed in-house and soon to be patented, according to Arx Pax CEO Greg Henderson. Beyond the applications the technology and the company’s hoverboards would be having in our earthly world, Arx Pax is aiming for the stars.
Literally aiming for the stars, as the partnership between NASA and Arx Pax is looking into applying this technology to creating microsatellites or tractor beams that would eventually become the building block of docking satellites for instance.
The hover technology used by Arx Pax applies to any conductive surface, according to Henderson. The prototype Hendo hoverboard was seen floating on a copper surface. Nonetheless,
“conventionally all satellites and spacecraft are made of aluminium, which works just fine”,
The engine of the hoverboard is creating electricity swirls, forming magnetic fields in the conductive surface and the engine itself. A swift manipulation of the fields prompts the hover engine to attract or repel, making the board hover.
In space, this technology could prove instrumental for docking satellites safely or floating around in pairs around small objects. Further development could find other applications for sure.
The NASA – Arx Pax partnership envisages the creation of a tractor beam prototype over the next years. Don’t imagine something oversized. Everything is on a scale of centimeters. Currently, Henderson explains, it is expected that the engine of the space hovers will not support movements on long distances. But one tiny push can go a long way in space compared to conventional gravity conditions.
Luke Murchison, Manager of the NASA Langley Research Center On-Orbit Autonomous Assembly from Nanosatellites Project stated:
“We continue to place a firm emphasis on innovation and collaboration. We’re confident and excited about the possibilities this agreement proposes”.
As for Arx Pax, it maintains that except for their own technology used to levitate an object, there is no better choice. Docking satellites or keeping objects in place in space without actual physical contact is a great deal.
Photo Credits: The Verge