Claim:  A video shows a real working hoverboard in operation in London.

Example: [Collected via e-mail, October 2015]

Is there now a real hoverboard in existence? There is a video out of a man on a hoverboard in the streets of London.

Origins:  The future is finally here! On 19 October 2015, a few days prior to “Back to the Future Day” (the date to which Marty and Doc Brown traveled to in the 1989 film Back to the Future II), a video was circulated online purportedly showing a man riding a real hoverboard in London:

The YouTube description for the above-displayed video provided the location of the event it captured (“Hoverboard & DeLorean Time Machine in London’s Piccadilly Circus”), but not any information about how the video was made.

What we do know is that the video shows Jason Bradbury, the host of The Gadget Show, riding an alleged hoverboard. Bradbury hasn’t said much about how the effect was achieved, but he did drop a few hints during an interview with France 24:

“I’ve attempted to build hoverboards over the years on The Gadget Show. The hover was provided by a leaf blower engine and the forward propulsion by a jet engine. But as you probably know, I just built a hoverboard of sorts, for a viral video.”

Obviously Bradbury’s “hoverboard” employs neither a leaf blower nor a jet engine, and while he claims that he made a hoverboard of sorts, the device clearly isn’t up to the standards set by the Back to the Future series. In fact, it appears that Bradbury is being held up by a mechanism attached to the DeLorean driving alongside him and is not actually hovering at all.

Unfortunately, Bradbury’s “London Hoverboard” is just another reminder that the future imagined in the Back to the Future saga has not yet been realized.

Last updated: 20 October 2015

Originally published: 20 October 2015