Was Back to the Future Part II really released in 1989? It was, and still is one of my favourite films, although I still think Part III was a stinker – ask your parents about it kids!
For the rest of us who understand the film reference, I’ll get into the main point of the post. But first, take a look at this thing of beauty below.
There had been a number of still images of a Lexus branded hoverboard floating around on the web (see what I did there?!) in the past few weeks, but without any detail, so I was super sceptical it was real. In my head, I’d deferred the imagery to “great marketing, but whats the tech”. But then, a video appears which seems to show a load of skateboard types, in a skate park actually using the thing.
Apart from the fact (on first inspection of the video) it looks real, it ejects a cool whispy smoke, so that’s a good enough reason to want one anyway! The reality of the tech though is somewhat different to the slickly produced video, although yes it does really hover, and there’s no CGI involved.
The skatepark you can see is in Barcelona, and it’s been necessary to adapt it quite significantly to get this clever board to hover so well because its dependant on the principles of magnetic levitation (maglev). Simply put, the board displays anti gravity properties through the use of some liquid nitrogen cooled super conductors, hence the smoke from the board. These work against the magnetic surface of the skate park (yes, Lexus needed to distribute a LOT of magnets across the surface of the park), and this is how you get the hoverboard to work.
How does it float above water? Well ask yourself how deep that water is – I’d suggest its a extremely shallow, maybe a few centimetres deep at most so the same maglev principles apply with the magnets placed in the base of the pool.
So any aspiring Marty McFly’s out there still have a wait until the day they can really just jump on a board and go anywhere. Sorry.
Finally, the reason I don’t want one is simple – in the video you see a lot of experienced skaters falling off the board. That would be me. Every couple of seconds.