In 1985, a certain Marty McFly wowed cinema goers not by his usual theatrics or the plutonium-fueled DeLorean but rather, a pink Hoverboard from a couple of kids playing around in front of town hall. With that, he proceeds to out run the baddies and the rest is cinematic history.
Interesting coincidence though, that the film featured an alternate timeline and the year was 2015. The same year that Lexus chose to unveil its latest invention. But unlike most of the creations that come out of Lexus, this has four wheels short and it hovers. But we suspect at this point fellow readers, you are least interested in what, who and where as opposed to the burning question – HOW ?
In the short film you would have seen international pro-skateboarding sensation Ross McGouran, pulling of tricks and slick moves while on the Lexus Hoverboard around the hover park. First off, the hover park was built bespoke for this in Barcelona. Constructed using circa 200 metres of magnetic track set beneath the surface of an area similar to a conventional skate park. This gave Lexus and McGouran the opportunity to demonstrate tricks that no skateboard could ever perform, including the greatest trick of them all – travelling across water.
The Lexus Hoverboard features two cryostats or reservoirs which contain superconducting materials, kept at -197°C through immersion in liquid nitrogen – of which is the ‘vapor’ you see in the film. When the board gets close enough to the magnets in the ground, it hovers. The deck on the other hand is made from bamboo, which replicates its four-wheeled cousins’ interior.
The magnetic field from the track is effectively ‘frozen’ into the superconductor in the board, maintaining the distance between the board and track – essentially keeping the board in a hover. The force is strong enough that the rider can stand and even jump on the board. That in a nutshell is the secret to the Lexus Hoverboard.
The Lexus Hoverboard is a great sign that science, technology and innovation are indeed heading in the right direction. However Lexus has announced that it will not be sold at this point in time. As cool as the hoverboard is, unless you’ve a custom-built a Hover Park in your backyard, it’s back to watching Back to the Future for the rest of us.