American Architects Invent Flying Skateboard

January 29, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. cutting-edge /ˈkʌt ɪŋ ɛdʒ/ (adj.) – being the newest or most advanced
Example: Cellphones with projectors are today’s cutting-edge mobile devices.

2. deck /dɛk/ (n.) – a flat surface that serves as a platform
Example: The skateboard with a broken deck is useless and even dangerous to use.

3. levitate /ˈlɛv ɪˌteɪt/ (v.) – to float in the air
Example: My toy helicopter can only levitate as high as our house.

4. crowdfunding /kraʊdfʌndɪŋ/ (n.) – the act of financing a project with donations from a large number of people
Example: Non-profit websites depend on crowdfunding for money, not advertisements.

5. benefactor /ˈbɛn əˌfæk tər, ˌbɛn əˈfæk-/ (n.) – someone who gives money for a cause or a project
Example: The teacher supported her students’ expensive project by being both their advisor and benefactor.


Read the text below.
American technological architects have developed a working prototype of a skateboard without wheels.

The Hendo Hoverboard is the latest attempt to invent an airborne transportation. It resembles a skateboard that can fly an inch from the ground. The Hoverboard is the first device to do so. The four magnetic disks installed at its base is where all the magic happens. Serving as the device’s levitation engine, the magnetic disks are the product of a cutting-edge technology called Magnetic Field Architecture (MFA).

Both the Hoverboard and the MFA are the brainchild of Arx Pax, a start-up company that specializes in levitation technology and design.

The Hoverboard can glide and rotate in any direction. With its pressure-sensitive skateboard deck, users can control its direction by leg power. The device also has a safety switch in case of malfunctions or emergency situations.

Despite all these features, the Hoverboard is still far from perfect. Aside from its limited flying capacity, the device has a battery life of only seven minutes. Furthermore, it can levitate and travel only on grounds made of electricity-conducting materials such as aluminum and copper.

The company finances the development of the Hoverboard through crowdfunding. Those who provide generous donations are rewarded with gifts and trial runs. For instance, those who donate $100 get to ride the Hoverboard for five minutes, while a contribution of $1,000 is worth an hour-long ride with a private coach. For a donation of $299, small-scale hover engines similar to those of the Hoverboard are given to benefactors who want to create their own levitating devices. Those who want to own it can buy one out of ten existing Hoverboards for $10,000.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Would you buy or try out a Hendo Hoverboard? Why or why not?
·         Aside from being a ride (or another form of transportation), how else do you think the Hendo Hoverboard can be useful? Please explain your answer.

Discussion B

·         For what other things would levitation technology be helpful? Please explain your answer.
·         If you were to invent a flying device, what device would that be and what would it be for?

January 29, 2015