No, you’re not being punked. Lexus really has built a hoverboard and it’s not just some prototype or a bunch of sketches. It’s a real working thing. The board, called Slide, looks like something that’s straight out of the future and although it’s very much real, you can’t buy one right now.
It works by using liquid nitrogen-cooled superconductors and magnets to lift the board off of the ground. It’s really not much higher than your average skateboard so don’t be thinking the Slide will let you soar off your rooftop.
The technology has already been used in Japan where one railway company set a world speed record using a magnetic-levitation train. It’s pretty cool stuff and there are lots of applications for this kind of technology. If you’re thinking flying cars, then you’ll be happy to know that so is Toyota.
According to Automotive News, Toyota first revealed their plans to build a flying car last year. Hiroyoshi Yoshiki, a managing officier of their Technical Administration Group, said that they’ve been studying flying cars in their most advanced R&D area. I imagine a place that requires a key card, a fingerprint scan, and possibly a retinal scan before the doors will open.
Like the Lexus hoverboard, the flying car is not going to be zipping around over your head. It won’t be in contact with the road so it’s technically flying but only the slightest bit above the pavement.
It’s not just the cool factor of having a flying car or hovering car or whatever they want to call the thing. A car that doesn’t touch the road doesn’t have to deal with friction or resistance, potentially making it a very efficient vehicle. It’d probably cost more than most can afford, but that’s how every technology starts. If it works, eventually it will trickle down into all vehicles.
Lexus will be testing the Slide in Barcelona over the summer and plans to release more information later this year on a very special date. October 21, 2015 was the date Marty McFly traveled to in the second Back to the Future movie and it’s the date Lexus will give us the full scoop. The first installment is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, too, so the timing couldn’t be more perfect.
Now, we just need them to work on a Mr. Fusion and those cool self-lacing sneakers and the world will be a much happier place.