Lexus has finally done it
If you were born in the late 1970s or early 1980s, there's little doubt that your childhood dreams were filled with visions of hoverboards, self-drying jackets, 3-D Jaws holograms and, of course, flying DeLoreans. That's right, fellow 80's kids, Back to the Future undoubtedly shaped the expectations of our childhood minds.
Maybe that's why so many people have tried building real, working hoverboards of their own. And maybe that's why, now that technology is finally catching up with your childhood dreams, we're so enthralled with this real-life floating skateboard from Lexus.
Click on the image above to learn more about the Lexus Hoverboard.
How does it work?
The Lexus Hoverboard technology features two "cryostats"—reservoirs in which superconducting material is kept at -197 degrees through immersion in liquid nitrogen. The board is then placed above a track that contains permanent magnets.
Dr. Oliver de Haas, explains: "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."
But does it work on water?
The Lexus Hoverboard project began 18 months ago through a collaboration with a team of scientists from IFW Dresden and evico GmbH, who specialize in magnetic levitation technology.
Lexus began testing its Hoverboard in a specially constructed hoverpark, combining elements from skate culture with technology within its architecture. Up to 200 meters of magnetic track was transported to Barcelona from the Dresden facility to lay beneath the hoverpark surface in order to create the dynamic test, offering Lexus the opportunity to demonstrate tricks no skateboard could ever perform, like traveling across water.
Pro skateboarder Ross McGouran tests the hoverboard
"I've spent 20 years skateboarding, but without friction it feels like I've had to learn a whole new skill, particularly in the stance and balance in order to ride the hoverboard. It's a whole new experience," said pro skateboarder and hoverboard test rider Ross McGouran.
Here's McGouran's bio:
With his effortless style and huge bag of tricks, Ross has become one of the fastest and most engaging skaters around. Ross began skating 20 years ago on the concrete surfaces of his local skate park in the U.K. He came up quickly through the sponsored ranks due to his ability to skate anything—flying through every contest he entered. Ross is part of the Element Europe team. He is also a pro-rider for Vans Europe, travelling with them to countries such as Sri Lanka, China, New Zealand, Australia, and Spain.
Recent Career Achievements: 2009 and 2010 - 1st UK Champs, 2011 - 2nd UK Champs, 2012 -1st Vans DTSD Amsterdam, 2014 -1st Oslo Games.
Being sponsored by Vans & Element has given Ross a platform to showcase his talent, and magazines such as Sidewalk, The Berrics and Red Bull Skateboarding have been quick to seize on this; especially in the wake of the phenomenally successful "Hold it Down" video from 2013.
You knew this was coming, right?
You didn't expect Lexus to go though all the trouble to make a fully functional hoverboard (albeit with caveats) without a significant marketing push, did you?
Clearly not. And so it's no surprise that Lexus brought talented filmmaker Henry-Alex Rubin in to the project to make sure its videos were as spectacular as the hoverboard itself.
Mark Templin, Executive Vice President at Lexus International said: "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. 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."
Translogic 170: Hendo Hoverboard
Lexus isn't the only company working hard on hoverboard technology.
California-based Hendo took the internet by storm with its magnetically-powered hoverboard. A wildly successful Kickstarter campaign saw the project funded twice-over, with over 3,000 backers pouring half a million dollars into the technology. Even skate legend Tony Hawk has taken a ride on the levitating board. See it here in a video overview from Translogic.