Future Tech: Hoverboard vs. Jetpack

Eyewire, citizen science, hoverboard, jetpack, Nurro, Rika

The future is now! There’s some tech that we always seem to dream about without having invented yet; but lately we’re living on the bleeding edge of certain transportation dreams. It’s pretty exciting for anyone who’d like their own personal flight accessories. What would you like to see on the mass market first?


  • Yeah, you can already buy “hoverboards,” but we all know that a real hoverboard shouldn’t have wheels. It should, y’know, be a skateboard… that hovers.
  • Models (proposed or experimentally constructed) tend to rely on some type of jet propulsion or magnetic levitation.
  • Pros & cons of jet propulsion: the board could move freely and fly as high as desired, but safety risks are higher, and the power supply might be the biggest challenge. Pros & cons of magnetic levitation: by floating the board over a magnetic track, it’s less risky and you mostly need to power the track, but you lose the chance to zip wherever you want across your cyberpunk cityscape.


  • A staple of sci fi tech for more than fifty years, you can technically find these today, but you’ll need all kinds of clearances to get your hands on one.
  • The biggest challenge of designing a functional jetpack? Besides fighting gravity, wind, and air resistance, a jetpack needs to compensate for your body’s lack of useful features like wings, all without burning your butt.
  • Arguably the most successful jetpack avoids those challenges by being used in a rather daring locale: outer space! NASA and other space programs have created several astronaut propulsion units that have seen plenty of action over the decades.

We’ll hit the “launch” button for both teams starting at 11 AM EDT on 10/5, and you’ll have 24 hours to fly toward victory!

The usual bonuses

Earn 5,000 points – 2,500 bonus
Earn 15,000 points – 5,000 bonus
Earn 25,000 points – 10,000 bonus
For every 25,000 points above 25,000 – 5,000 bonus
Member of winning team (if you’ve scored at least 2,500 points) – 10,000 bonus
Highest scorer on each team – 5,000 bonus
Player with #1 overall score – 10,000 bonus
Player with #2 overall score – 5,000 bonus
Player with #3 overall score – 2,500 bonus

And a bonus video: what if it weren’t a hoverboard or a jetpack… but both?

Artwork by Daniela Gamba

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