WATCH: Lexus get skateboarder to test hoverboard - it doesn’t quite go according to plan
Published 05/08/2015 | 12:06
If you've seen Back to the Future II (and who hasn't?) then you've dreamed of the day when you can buy your very own hoverboard.
Throw it on the ground, jump on, grab a passing car and fly off down the street - until you fall off into a pile of manure ("I hate manure").
According to a new video from Lexus, which has built a real-life hoverboard, that's probably what will happen.
The Japanese car maker gave its gadget to professional skateboarder Ross McGouran following 18 months of design and technology planning, and weeks of testing at a specially constructed “hoverpark” near Barcelona.
But if McGouran has trouble staying on the board, what hope have the rest of us got?
“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,” he said.
The Lexus Hoverboard features two cryostats - reservoirs which contain superconducting material - kept at -197°C through immersion in liquid nitrogen. When the board gets close enough to the magnets in the ground, it hovers.
“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," said Dr Oliver de Haas, chief executive of evico, a German company specialising in magnetic levitation technology that worked on the project.
"The force is strong enough that the rider can stand and even jump on the board.”
McGouran took the board for a spin on 200 metres of magnetic track built underneath a conventional skate park.
This meant the 29-year-old could try to perform all the tricks he usually would on a skateboard, but with one exciting difference - he could now travel across water, too.
The hoverboard is the latest project in Lexus's Amazing in Motion campaign, which aims to demonstrate the company's commitment to pursuing new possibilities in advanced design and technology.
Mark Templin, executive vice-president of Lexus International, said: “As we combined our technology and expertise, we discovered that making a hoverboard isn’t an easy process.
"We’ve experienced highs and lows and have overcome a few challenges, but through mutual determination we have created a demonstration of our philosophy in design and technology to create Amazing in Motion.”
Want to try the hoverboard? Unfortunately, it's just a prototype and Lexus isn't releasing it for sale.
Oh well, back to watching Marty McFly.