Personal Transportation

AirBoard personal aircraft promises an aerial revolution, puts Back to the Future on notice

The dreams of many people around the world envision a future where travel facilitated by personal hover vehicles is the norm. The most popular example is the hover board from the movie Back to the Future, something people are still patiently waiting for. If the AirBoard becomes a reality, the hover board may be outdated before it even exists.

By taking the idea of a Hiller Flying Machine and modernizing it, the team behind the AirBoard is claiming to have created the world’s smallest manned aircraft. Capable of clearing all sort of terrain with its ground collision detection system, the product is truly the stuff of sci-fi. It sports four rotors underneath to provide altitudes of at least four and a half meters, all in a package that, when opened, is just 71″ by 59″ tall. More impressively, it is three times smaller when closed, measuring a petite 31″ by 43″ tall—small enough to be put into a car’s trunk.

The combination of a powerful, Bluetooth-compatible Intel chip—along with a gyroscope and accelerometer—allows the AirBoard to be connected with a companion smartphone app for additional control, making it easy to pilot even for newbies.

The proposed product is truly unique and will prove revolutionary if the final price is reasonable. But, as impressive as the product seems to be, it’s extremely hard to believe that it will live up to its claims, with its tight production schedule and nary a video showing off at least a prototype. Although many will be rightfully excited by the idea, the campaign is floating on an awful lot of doubt for the time being.

$250 gets backers a priority ticket for the chance to purchase an AirBoard in late 2015, with a price TBD. The campaign is looking for $30,000 by March 21.

Luggage and Bags

TUL briefcase builds in a scale to save on airline baggage expenses

TULIn spite of full body scans, baggage and over-the-limit fees, obnoxious ticket prices and generally treating most passengers like they are prisoners, there are still people out there willing to fly what is quickly becoming not-so-friendly skies. For those who seem to be able to put this outrageous affront to customer service aside, TUL offers a way to save a few pennies via luggage with a built-in scale. Just close the lid, flip on the switch and the sensors and digital display do the rest. There isn’t even any lifting involved. This seems like a great idea, but Americans take note: it appears that only kilos are calculated. For $229 AUD backers get one suitcase and an expected delivery of May 2015.


SkyTent provides in-flight privacy, will attract in-flight gawkers

The Premise. Traveling can be tiring business. A constant barrage of harsh sounds, lights and smells can make it difficult to relax or sleep. It can also be difficult to have a sense of privacy while flying or waiting for a flight.

The Product. SkyTent is a visor that wraps around your head with fabric hanging down from it, looking a bit like those old kerchiefs that the outlaws in westerns wear. The fabric is light, breathable and allows the wearer to see through to the outside world. The visor comes in an array of colors with different design options on the front including “Keep Calm and Dream On” and “Cat Nap”. While on, the fabric hangs far enough away from your face to be comfortable.

The Pitch. A charming video of the creator talking about his product using illustrations kicks off the campaign. He goes through all of the different sensory pollutants that one must endure when flying while relaying what sounds like a flight from Hell to China. The rest of the campaign shows different folks donning the SkyTent as well as add-on features that the creator would like to offer, including more colors and scented oils to clip into the visor. SkyTent hopes to raise $10,000 in its 30-day Kickstarter run.

The Perks. One of these mini-tents costs $25 for backers looking for some solace. There are only two reward tiers on this campaign, both with expected delivery dates of August 2014. A $15,000 stretch goal has been set for the addition of essential oil aroma inserts.

The Potential. ironically, for a product designed to provide privacy, the oddity of the SkyTent is sure to attract looks Other than looking quite silly, though, the product provides an alternative to the tried-and-true sleep mask and less popular portable ionizer. It’s light enough to be portable for travelers and would even be good in long car rides for passengers who experience motion sickness. One similar product includes the Forward Front Face Pillow Cushion , which provides some privacy and rest for air travelers, but requires an awkward bend forward to do so. However, it’s unclear how good a job it does filtering out noxious odors and one will still need to rely on some good noise-canceling headphones to block out noisy fellow passengers