The futuristic technology promised to us in the 1989 film Back to the Future II may soon become a reality and in the same year it was used in the movie, if the luxury car company Lexus is to be believed. In a 38 second teaser video released on Tuesday, Lexus claims they have developed real, rideable, Back to the Future-esque hoverboard.
The short video — which was first released on the Lexus website — shows a skateboarder skating through what seems to be a typical, concrete skatepark. He then steps off the skateboard and approaches the hoverboard, which levitates about an inch off the ground as smoke billows from it. The video ends before his foot touches the deck of the hoverboard. A quote attributed to Haruhiko Tanahashi, Chief Engineer at Lexus flashes across the screen.
“There is no such thing as impossible. It’s just a matter of figuring out how.”
So how did Lexus make their hoverboard work? It’s fairly simple, actually, and the science behind it can be found in experiments in most high school physics labs.
“The Lexus Hoverboard uses magnetic levitation to achieve amazing frictionless movement. Liquid nitrogen cooled superconductors and permanent magnets combine to allow Lexus to create the impossible,” the website says.
We’ve seen hoverboards that rely on magnets many times over the years, but as Gizmodo points out, the heavier the rider, the stronger and colder those magnets have to be. Using liquid nitrogen — that would be the smoke you see billowing from the hoverboard — to consistently cool superconductors (which tend to heat up pretty quickly from a cooled state) and placing them over permanent magnets within the board itself could, in theory, cause a reaction strong enough to not only levitate the hoverboard itself, but also a rider.
Though the teaser video ends before we see the hoverboard in use, a Bloomberg reports says that Lexus plans to test their prototype as early as this summer, and they’ve already enlisted the help of a professional skateboarder to run the tests in Barcelona.
At the moment, the only other information released on Lexus’ hoverboard is that they’re calling it SLIDE, and it’s a part of their Amazing In Motion series. The car company says that more info on their mysterious hoverboard will be released later this year, on a date coinciding with the Back to the Future films, so keep your eyes tuned to the Lexus website and social media accounts on and around October 21, 2015 — the date Doc Brown, Marty McFly, and Jennifer headed back to the future for a second time.
[Image Credit: ScreenUsed]