Lexus is fine-tuning its levitating skateboard, the Lexus Hoverboard, in Barcelona, and has released a video showcasing the full scale of the device’s abilities.
The smoke-emitting hoverboard, relying on superconducting magnets cooled to minus 197 degrees Celsius with liquid nitrogen, could be seen put to test by accomplished skateboarders in a palm tree dotted skateboard park.
Although the video hints the skateboarders can move wherever they wish with the levitating board – with some even riding it above a water surface or taking it down a railing – the hoverboard needs to be used above a track containing permanent magnets.
"The magnetic field from the track is effectively 'frozen' into the superconductors in the board, maintaining the distance between the board and the track-essentially keeping the board hovering,” said Oliver de Haas, CEO of German magnetic levitation specialist Evico. “This force is strong enough to allow the rider to stand and even jump on the board."
The Lexus Hoverboard project, also dubbed the Slide, is a cooperation between Japanese luxury carmaker Lexus, Evico and the Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research in Dresden, Germany. The project began in Germany a year and a half ago and concluded in Barcelona this month.
For the purposes of the final testing in Barcelona, a dedicated skate park was built combining elements from skate culture with the technology required for the hoverboard to work.
Up to 200 meters of magnetic track was transported to Barcelona from the Dresden facility to lay beneath the hoverpark surface in order to create the dynamic test conditions for Lexus to fully demonstrate tricks the hoverboard can pull.
"Embarking on this project, we set out to push the boundaries of technology, design and innovation to make the impossible possible,” said Mark Templin, Executive Vice President at Lexus International.
“We discovered making a hoverboard isn't an easy process. We've experienced the highs and lows and have overcome a few challenges.”
Skater Ross McGouran commented on the experience: "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 in order to ride the hoverboard.
Lexus Slide hoverboard infographic