We hear the same droll gags every New Year’s Day. Is this the future? Where’s my hoverboard? Considering the pace of technological innovation, be it the connected car movement or the 3D printing revolution, it was a sure fire inevitability we would soon truly feel like we’d arrived in the future.
We originally published this news story back in early July, but Lexus has since wowed us with a more in-depth video. Pro skateboarder Ross McGouran is filmed having a tough time mastering the board, which is suspended via gravitational repulsion - using semiconductors and magnets beneath the ramps.
And that steam isn't for effect either. That's the liquid nitrogen used to cool the superconductors to -321 degrees F, which is point at which they begin superconducting.
"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 thehoverboard. It's a whole new experience," said McGouran.
Up to 200 metres of magnetic track was transported to Barcelona from the Dresden facility to lay beneath the hoverpark surface in order to create the dynamic test, offering Lexus the opportunity to demonstrate tricks no skateboard could ever perform, like travelling across water. Lexus has captured the final ride footage and released it as a film led by award winning director Henry-Alex Rubin.
The device boasts a unique design with the Lexus spindle grille emblazoned on the board, which is made using the same materials as the brand’s luxury motors - from the high-tech fibres to organic bamboo. Lexus is being a little coy with their new teaser video, which doesn't actually show the board being ridden. The chunky does appear to be steaming, which suggests the use of liquid nitrogen, which has even cropped up in molecular gastronomy to make small hors d'oeuvres hover temporarily.
Other hoverboard concepts have come and gone, including the Hendo hoverboard (pictured below), which gained traction via the popular crowdfunding website, Kickstarter. A total of 3,169 backers pledged $510,590 to help bring the project to life. Their innovative device uses a changing magnetic field to induce a current in a conducting wire and - via an array of very clever components - eventually produces electromagnetic repulsion to keep the board levitated.