The latest video in Lexus’ Amazing in Motion series reveals what the company is claiming is a working hoverboard that manages to float about an inch off the ground. It’s a far cry from what we saw in Back to the Future 2, but has the carmaker brought us one step closer to our dreams?
We’ve seen plenty of hoverboards and hover toys and hover miscellanery over the years, and they all rely on super-strong magnets to stay aloft. But the more weight you intend to add, the colder and stronger those magnets need to be. Lexus claims its hoverboard uses liquid nitrogen-cooled superconductors and permanent magnets to support an actual rider, hence the foggy mist coming off the board.
We reached out to Lexus for more information about its supposed breakthrough, but so far the company has been very tight-lipped about the specifics. It did reveal that 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.
When it comes to hoverboards, we desperately want to believe. After all, 2015 is here, and it looks nothing like the future predicted in Back to the Future 2. Why shouldn’t we have floating skateboards by now?
But there are lots of clues that give us reason not to get our hopes up this time. Every hover device that relies on superconductors only works on a special magnetic surface, and this board appears to be floating on concrete at a regular old skate park. Update: Lexus has admitted that the board only works on special metallic surfaces, and that’s not just concrete seen in that video.
The video also doesn’t actually show someone riding it, although Lexus has promised more videos of it being tested, just not right now. So what do you think? Is this just another publicity stunt loosely based on existing science? Or has Lexus actually managed to get a working facsimile of Marty McFly’s second coolest ride?