Lexus, better known for its luxury cars, just released a teasing video unveiling what looks like a genuine hoverboard. But is it the real deal or some lame marketing stunt? I feel like the latter, while a possibility, would severely backfire for Lexus, a highly respectable brand. On the other hand, I guess the kid in me is just rooting for this whole thing to be real.
Details are scarce at this point, but from what I could gather from the Lexus website and this promo video the hoverboard works on liquid nitrogen-cooled superconductors and magnets. In other words, this is a hoverboard that works on quantum levitation; the kind of super-cooled objects you might have seen suspended in mid-air in those cool youtube videos. Quantum levitation is actually a demonstration of the Meissner effect, which describes the expulsion of a magnetic field from a superconductor during its transition to the superconducting state. Last year, a Japanese railway company set a new world speed record using a magnetic-levitation train. Previously, Toyota (Lexus’ parent company) hinted it’s experimenting with “flying cars.”
To quote Haruhiko Tanahashi, the chief Lexus engineer for this project, “there is no such things as impossible.” This really looks like the real deal!
According to Gizmodo, “the hoverboard has been in development for over 18 months by teams in both Germany and London, and it’s currently being tested by a professional skateboarder in Barcelona, although riding it is supposedly an entirely different experience.”