Lexus released a promotional video that featured a floating hoverboard. The clip, where the pod first surfaced, was an experimental campaign filmed in Spain.
After the ad went viral, Lexus was left with a lot of explaining to do.
“Back to the Future messed my whole generation up. The world so desperately wants someone to mass produce a hoverboard. Let’s be frank, it’s not novel. There are other hoverboards. To a degree, we weren’t expecting [the reaction],” highlighted Lexus spokesperson Maurice Dumand.
Powered by Magnets and Liquid Nitrogen
The Slide hoverboard relies on electromagnetic fields coupled with liquid nitrogen to ensure a stable ride. Similar to high-speed train technology found in Japan, the contraption requires a bed of magnets to stay afloat.
Without polar support from a platform, pushing off from the ground would be impossible. The foundation creates the levitating effect and also limits the pod from being used on grass or concrete.
Inside the deck (made out of bamboo and carbon fiber), one will find superconductors and more magnets. The mechanics of the board requires below freezing temperatures (-321 degrees Farenheit) to turn from conductor to superconductor status. In order to maintain arctic-like conditions, liquid nitrogen is applied religiously to cool the unit. This is why white smoke can be seen emitting from the sides of the board. When the cold stuff runs out, the mini-hovercraft stops functioning.
Not Available in Stores
Unfortunately, the personal aircraft will not be available for purchase. Lexus does not have any plans on developing a board fit for consumers. Although it is a promising form of transportation, the car manufacturing brand currently has a lot on its plate at the moment with the upcoming additions to the RX line, the Lexus GS F and futuristic concept projects.
The floating pod in the clip merely served as a symbol for innovation and forward-thinking design. But without an actual car present in the video, one can’t help but assume Lexus was referring directly to the machine.
“That determination, combined with our passion and expertise for design and innovation, is what led us to take on the Hoverboard project. It’s the perfect example of the amazing things that can be achieved when you combine technology, design and imagination,” said Mark Templin, executive vice president of Lexus International.
What about the Hendo Hoverboard?
The Hendo hoverboard is the real deal. While the pod doesn’t look nearly as polished as the one Lexus created, it does work in controlled environments. Both use nearly identical technology. However, the Hendo board applies more traditional conductor mechanisms to power the machine.
“Instead you have something called the Meissner effect, which essentially says that when you take a magnetic field near the superconductor, it induces current in that superconductor, and creates essentially an image magnetic field on the other side of the superconductor,” mentioned Eric Palm, Deputy Laboratory Director at FSU’s National High Magnetic Field Laboratory.
If after watching the Lexus promotional ad, you’re still looking for a transcending personal transportation vehicle, the Hendo hoverboard is worth a look.