Think back, way back – to the future, in fact. Do you recall a certain Marty McFly cruising across a pond on a hoverboard? Of course you do, because everyone who watched “Back to the Future II” remembers that hoverboard and thinking how awesome it would be to have one. Well, Lexus is making this dream a reality. Unveiled on August 4 in a press release is the new Lexus hoverboard, which goes by the project name SLIDE.
“Embarking on this project, we set out to push the boundaries of technology, design and innovation to make the impossible possible. With this project we call ‘SLIDE’, we collaborated with partners who share our passion for creating enjoyment out of motion,” said Mark Templin, Executive Vice President at Lexus International. “Even through combining our technology and expertise, we discovered making a hoverboard isn’t an easy process. We’ve experienced the highs and lows and have overcome a few challenges, but through mutual determination we have created a demonstration of our philosophy in design and technology to create Amazing in Motion.”
This board’s hovering ability comes from two cryostats, reservoirs in which the superconducting materials are immersed in liquid nitrogen and kept at -197 degrees. If you were expecting there to be a special circumstance for the board to work, you’d be right. The board will only work above a surface that has permanent magnets. For instance, the location used in the video above includes up to 200 meters of magnetic track.
To explain exactly how the hover process works is Dr. Oliver de Haas, evico CEO and team member of the SLIDE project, “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.”
How long will it be until we get a hoverboard that will work on any surface? Only the scientists know, but I can tell you that we are all chomping at the bit to ride across the town’s pond. When do you think we’ll see a real hoverboard? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.