We’ve been promised and teased with hoverboards for years ever since the days of Marty McFly but it appears that Lexus has come very close with its new prototype.
First hinted at back in June, Lexus’ research and development teams have been working on its very own hoverboard. Now the hard work seems to have come to fruition in the form of the Slide video series, which shows pro-skater Ross McGouran testing out the surreal prototype.
It’s not exactly the hoverboard that you imagined. It uses what’s called magnetic levitation, or maglev, to reduce friction between the board and the ground (in this case a magnetic track placed around an old skatepark). Maglev has also been used on rapid speed train tracks in Japan. Meanwhile liquid nitrogen semi-conductors force the board away from the ground by just an inch or two.
“The magnetic field from the track is effectively ‘frozen’ into the superconductors in the board, maintaining the distance between the board and the track-essentially keeping the board hovering. This force is strong enough to allow the rider to stand and even jump on the board,” explained Dr. Oliver de Haas, CEO of evico, one of Lexus’ research partners.
The hoverboard proved quite difficult for the skaters in the video to get a hang of as they lacked the friction they’re used to with a regular board. “Everything I knew about skating went out the window,” said McGouran.
Don’t get your hopes up though, the Lexus hoverboard is far from complete and ready for mass consumption says the company.