Owning a Hoverboard has been a dream of many since the seed was brilliantly sown by BACK TO THE FUTURE franchise in 1985. Since the release of the first film, many items from their idyllic portrayal of the future – ironically now our past – have been coveted by fans worldwide.
Some items have actually been launched to success; the Nike Air Mag trainers worn by Marty McFly a been the source of intensified bidding wars over the last few years, and flying cars a many have been posited on a regular basis. But so far no-one has come close to making a viable hoverboard – until now that is.
Why you ask? The problem is not making the board hover per se, but making the board hover whilst transporting the mass of a human being. There are various other hover models that have been proposed in the past, but the size of equipment required to achieve “flight” made the resulting outcome more hovercraft than board. Finally, luxury automotive company Lexus have solved this problem - or at least so it seems. Using the combination of a purpose built terrain and a technically advanced board, the solution is somewhat schoolboy in the simplicity of concept, yet Harvard in its execution; they used the laws of magnetism.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
“The magnetic field from the track is effectively ‘frozen’ into the superconductors in the board, maintaining the distance between the board and track – essentially keeping the board in a hover. The force is strong enough that the rider can stand and even jump on the board.”
"The board levitates because of the interaction of the superconductors inside the board and the magnetic field provided by the magnetic track beneath the skate-park surface. The superconducting material we have used is the compound YBCO. It needs to be cooled to a temperature below -181 °C to get its superconducting properties. The superconductor can than store a magnetic field that is present when reaching the superconducting state."
“So if the superconducting board is cooled down with a small distance to the track in the field of the magnetic track it memorizes this field and generates restoring forced when the board is displaced from its original position, relative to the track. These magnetic forces are an inherent feature of superconductors, there is no electronic control necessary and no power consumption for it. Only cooling requires some energy –less than expected. ”
~ Dr Oliver de Hass, CEO of evico
“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 you need to ride the hoverboard.”
~ Ross McGouran, Pro-Skater
The official unveiling of the Lexus Hoverboard in full motion marked the culmination of 18 months of design and technology planning and weeks of testing at a specially constructed “hoverpark” near Barcelona.
The hoverpark was constructed using around 200 metres of magnetic track set beneath the surface of an area similar to a conventional skate park. This gave Lexus and pro skater Ross McGouran the opportunity to demonstrate tricks that no skateboard could ever perform, including travelling across water.
The Lexus Hoverboard in motion was captured in Slide, a new film award-winning director by Henry-Alex Rubin.
Θ Imagery & Video ~ Toyota & Lexus
EDITOR | SAMSON