You may well have heard of Zapata Racing, the company which made all of our childhood Back to the Future dreams come to life with its jet-powered hoverboard, the Flyboard Air. Well, it's currently in the process of being acquired by a major defense technology company called Implant Sciences, which specializes in developing technology for the Department of Homeland Security and other clients.
"The contacts [Implant Sciences] have with the U.S. Army was something very exciting for me," Franky Zapata -- company founder, world's farthest hoverboard flight record holder, and something approaching a real-life Iron Man -- told Digital Trends. "We have the technology, but having access to those contacts was very valuable to us. The money they will bring to the company also means that we'll be able to develop a [range of new technologies]. Those two reasons are why we chose to team with them."
Right now, the acquisition is in the "due diligence" phase, although the deal is likely to be completed very soon. In the meantime, things are moving on to more in-depth discussions about the potential future military applications of the technology. "At the moment, the meetings that we're having are to explore how we might most get value from the military environment," Seth Gerszberg, president of Zapata Racing, tells Digital Trends.
So does this mean that we're close to having the military on hoverboards then? Crazily enough, maybe yes.
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In particular, Implant Sciences has designs on flying medical stretchers, jetbikes and "floating rescue stations, scaffoldings, and unmanned heavy payload delivery drones." Zapata says that the company will continue to focus on its more consumer-facing applications, but the acquisition will also open up new possibilities for him within his own job.
"Yes, my role will change," he says. "I will be able to focus more on research and development. I will have a team around me to facilitate that, which will be a nice opportunity."
"The potential acquisition of Zapata brings Implant Sciences a best-in-class personal balance and flight technology that has far reaching military and consumer applications," said Robert Liscouski, president and board member of Implant Sciences. "We are beyond excited to have visionaries like Franky Zapata and his team on board and we are thrilled to allow for shareholders to benefit from the many breakthrough products he has already invented and the new innovations he will be unveiling in coming months and years."
We're definitely excited to see what comes of all of this. It all feels a bit like we're living in a James Cameron movie.