If you've seen the second Back to the Future movie then you'll be all too aware that the day on which Marty Mcfly and the Doc are set to appear on our streets is fast approaching; in fact, according to the Dolerean's instruments, they should be appearing on October 21st. Their expectations will undoubtedly be set on hover cars and holograms, to ensure that they aren't disappointed on their arrival, Lexus have been working on some rather impressive tech – welcome to the Lexus SLIDE.
At first, Lexus' new teaser was approached with skepticism as to its realism – it isn't every day that someone unveils a levitating skateboard. After a period of wide eyed admiration and childlike wishing throughout the office, however; Lexus have confirmed that they have managed to bring science fiction into the real world and create a fully functioning hoverboard.
Encased within the board, a multitude of liquid nitrogen cooled magnets and superconductors work to repel the force of gravity and subsequently provide the hoverboard with 'magnetic levitation' - this is the same technology that can be seen on Maglev trains across the world.
Thanks to this clever use of physics, the board hovers one or two inches off the floor. The use of magnetic levitation brings with it a host of positives and negatives and, whilst the magnets allow the board to hover above the Earth's surface and move unaffected by friction, they are limited to only working above metal surfaces.
Unlike the the hoverboard used by Marty McFly in the iconic film, the Lexus hoverboard is actually quite aesthetically pleasing and draws inspiration from Lexus' cars. The shape is an echo of the iconic spindle grille and luxury materials like carbon and bamboo have be used to form the body and deck.
Whilst the liquid nitrogen is essential to make the board work (without the -321 degree liquid, the magnets get warm and can no longer levitate the board) it also adds a very dramatic element to the board, creating white 'smoke' that cascades out of the side vents like something out of a suspense filled movie.
Sadly, the Doc and Marty McFly will have to do without the SLIDE when they visit us in October, the hoverboard has been developed as a demonstration of technology to form part of their new 'Amazing in Motion' campaign which has already played host to elements such as 'STROBE' and 'SWARM'.
This doesn't mean you'll never get to give to board a go however; despite confirmation that the board will never reach production, Lexus spokesperson Maurice Durand has told WIRED that there is a small possibility that one day the SLIDE may be something their consumers could try.
The technology may not be an RC F that can achieve time travel at 88mph but it does show what is possible within the boundaries of modern technology. Magnetic levitation has already been proved to work with both the SLIDE and Maglev trains; surely it's only a matter of time until we see a Maglev car?