Has Lexus Created the Hoverboard We’ve All Been Waiting For?
Along with the innovative models like the new 2015 Lexus Rx, Lexus has also been dabbling in a smaller form of futuristic transportation. Just a few weeks ago, they’ve finally released the official teaser of their much talked-about hoverboard. On the hoverboard’s official website, Lexus explains a little bit about how the sleek, wood-lined prototype works: it uses magnetic levitation to achieve “amazing frictionless movement.”
“Liquid nitrogen cooled superconductors and permanent magnets combine to allow Lexus to create the impossible,” the site says. But is this the hoverboard that science fiction fans have been waiting for?
Michael Greshko, science writer for Science 2.0, writes that, at the very least, Lexus has come up with a cool way to use superconductors and magnetism to levitate a hoverboard. But what does this mean for those of us who wants to ride one of our very own?
Steve Gourlay, the head of the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab’s Superconducting Magnet Group, thinks that Lexus laid down some very strong magnets underneath the sidewalk in the teaser video, in which the hoverboard appears to levitate about an inch off the ground. He believes that a track or sidewalk laid with magnets will be necessary for the hoverboard to work. Supporting this theory, Gizmodo also reports that the hoverboard only works on “special metallic surfaces.”
Since unfortunately most of us won’t be able to find a magnetized skate park anytime soon, it is unlikely the prototype is being considered for mass production, and Ars Technica has reported that the prototype isn’t for sale.
The hoverboard is also similar to the Hendo hoverboard, which debuted as a Kickstarter last fall. The physics behind the Hendo and the Lexus hoverboard are similar – the difference is that the Lexus uses a superconductor, not just a conductor.
But we’re still incredibly excited to see what Lexus debuts, and will report updates as they come. The not-so-secret science fiction fans in us are stoked, and it’s just another great example of Lexus pushing the boundaries of technology, luxury, and the thrill of the ride.
So while we’re a little bummed hoverboards are not yet up for sale, you’ll probably have just as much fun in a new Lexus, so come take one for a test drive today.