With the motivation to build a better tomorrow and the meaning of the word impossible absent from his vocabulary, Greg Henderson is a man with big plans and bigger dreams to bring the future a step closer to the realm of reality. Greg Henderson is an extraordinary thinker who comes with an inspiring and wide-ranging professional background, from getting enrolled in the army, to becoming an architect, a builder, an engineer, and an inventor of numerous patents.
Daring to Wonder
After working as an architect at a design firm for over 15 years, Greg researched extensively in the arena of electromagnetism as a potential way to build better, and being an outsider, he was able to devise a solution to magnetically levitate a person over a passive surface. He was always inspired and deeply affected by humanity’s approach to building.
This avant-garde solution was a turning point for using technology to solve real-world infrastructural problems in harmony with natural forces. He also realized that using the same technology at a smaller scale could also serve major applications in commercial fields like manufacturing and transportation.
Exploring beyond the boundaries of architectural design, Greg and his wife Jill Henderson co-founded Arx Pax in 2012, a trailblazing venture to envision a more sustainable and resilient built environment using unexploited technologies to mitigate the ravages of natural disasters.
One of the guiding principles behind Arx Pax was to be able to maximize the value of underutilized land to provide housing and prospective opportunities in urban infill sites. Challenging the way buildings were traditionally constructed, Greg and Jill ventured into the domain of Magnetic Field Architecture (MFATM) as a way to build responsibly, sustainably, and safely.
“The scientific breakthroughs generated at Arx Pax will make the impossible possible, inspire co-creation on a global scale, and ultimately create meaningful change in the world.”
— Greg Henderson, Arx Pax Founder
As a part of his plan to develop an alternative building system for flood and earthquake-prone zones, Greg Henderson along with his highly motivated and talented team at Arx Pax developed fourteen patented concepts. Based on the principle of structural isolation, the main idea behind the three-part Foundation patent was to decouple a building from its foundation in the ground and enable the entire structure to float on a Magnetic levitation-based “buffer” medium that could absorb all seismic shocks.
The success of this experiment led to the conceptualization of Magnetic Field Architecture, MFA which eventually led to the launch of the fully functional and widely acclaimed “Hendo Hoverboard” in October 2014. What started as a revolutionary idea, developed into a working prototype with limited immediate applications, has now emerged as a futuristic mechanism with unlimited potential.
Kickstarter Campaign 2014
To formally float the Hendo Hoverboard in the global markets, through a combination of crowdfunding and open sourcing, the Hendo team launched a kickstarted campaign in October 2014 intending to ship a small batch of Hoverboards and developer kits through 2015. Reinstating their spirit of “daring to wonder”, they launched this campaign to engage people and give them a chance to reimagine their ideas of hovering.
They invited anyone interested to take part in their project and use the white box developer kits to allow any developers to build upon their technology and experiment with creating their own hovering devices. This was immensely successful at capturing people’s attention and garnering high profile riders’ interest like Tony Hawk and Buzz Aldrin which drew great attention towards their campaign.
SAFE Building Systems
Both being residents of California, Greg and Jill Henderson were inspired by the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake that rocked San Francisco to reimagine the conventional ways of construction. Images of collapsed homes and ravaged freeways were stuck in Greg’s mind and he began looking for new ways of protecting cities and saving lives: Levitating Buildings.
As a platform to draw attention to real-world problems and discuss better ways to build in unison with nature, Greg and his team developed the “Safe Adjusting Floating Environment (SAFE)” building system as a low-impact method of protecting buildings in earthquake-prone, flood zones, and coastal areas.
In December 2016, Greg launched the SAFE Building System as a sustainable way of designing foundations to float buildings, roadways, and utilities in a few feet of water. They aim to get pilot projects off the ground in flood-prone parts of the US and its neighbours, including the Republic of Kiribati.
“Give us 30 years, and we’ll hover a skyscraper, or imagine converting HOV lanes into hover lanes. The potential is limitless,” Greg said in an interview with the Smithsonian magazine.
Innovative and Engaging Industrial Growth
Greg Henderson and his team at Hendo have explored the wide arching benefits of their hovering mechanisms far beyond the conventional shackles of construction and design and have also begun manufacturing hover engines and MFA (Magnetic field Architecture) Bundles. These are a gigantic step forward in revolutionizing the concepts of industrial automation and seismic isolation.
Together these technologies have proven to be a major driving force for private players like Ball Aerospace and Pampa Technologies.
Pathbreaking industrial giants like Elon Musk envisioned “Hyperloop”: a tube-based transportation system is one of the major benefactors of Arx Pax’s hover engines. Arx Pax provided hover engines to several participants in the SpaceX-sponsored Hyperloop pod competition. According to Greg Henderson, “their hover engines provided an incredible set of capabilities and were the only things that came with their own form of braking and propulsion.”
Greg Henderson and his teams at Arx Pax and Hendo have made the future a viable possibility. They have made the gloriously futuristic ideas of levitating and riding above the surface of the earth come to life and be approachable to all.
Coming from an architectural background, through his inspiring journey, Greg Henderson has proved that there are endless possibilities to make a meaningful change in the world, not just through design, but also by combining it with technology and conscientious entrepreneurship to make construction safer and more sustainable practice.