A hoverboard is the stuff of dreams, an iconic movie prop that was never meant to see the real world. Immortalised in the Back to the Future movies, Generation X has tried every scientific means at their disposal to make the idea a reality but it hasn’t materialised yet.
Until now. Lexus has released this extremely stealthy teaser for something called the Slide, which could possibly be the world’s first working hoverboard. It is a far cry from the hoverboard from Back to the Future 2, hovering just an inch over the ground, but it is also the first one we have seen supporting a fully grown man.
If you are still dubious, we understand. The last time someone claimed they have made a working hoverboard, it turned out to be an elaborate hoax involving some very famous people in the skating scene, like Tony Hawk.
Lexus’ Slide doesn’t seem to be an April Fool’s joke that came three months too late, though. It doesn’t seem like a publicity stunt to gather eyeballs either. For one, it is part of Lexus’s Amazing in Motion, a series that has already given us some breathtaking stuff like this.
Then Gizmodo reached out to the carmaker and, while they were understandably tight-lipped for now, they did reveal that it is all real and has been in development for over 18 months now by two teams in Germany and London. Don’t ask why a luxury carmaker is getting into hoverboard and we won’t too.
Look closely and you will see the smoke emanating from the hoverboard. Previous attempts at making hoverbaords have meant using super strong magnets to glide over a metallic surface. And the more weight you want to add to your payload, the stronger – and colder –the magnets need to be. The Slide uses liquid nitrogen-cooled superconductors and permanent magnets to support an actual rider, and that’s where the mist is coming from.
While the clip doesn’t show a person riding the Slide, Lexus claims that it’s currently being tested by a professional skateboarder in Barcelona, although riding it is supposedly an entirely different experience.
We have just another confusion to clear up. Any hover device that relies on superconductors works only on a special magnetic surface. But this device appears to be floating on concrete at a regular old skate park. If that’s actually achieved by Lexus, even if for just an inch above the surface, Lexus could very well be onto something radical here.