New Lexus Hoverboard is Real; Here’s The Science Behind it

Back to the Future II has come full-circle and hoverboards are now real. “Wait a second, we’ve heard this before. What’s the catch?” Okay, yes, the media has gotten hyped about hoverboards numerous times before, and the hoverboards that were presented weren’t exactly the speedy boards of your adolescent fantasies, but this time it’s different – mostly.

This time around the newest incarnation of the hoverboard is so advanced that it has its own hover skatepark. Though, you probably won’t see these boards on the shelves of your Toys R’ Us anytime soon. The Lexus-made hoverboard had its debut with a short clip of it in action earlier this week and has racked up three million views in just a couple of days. The clip was shot at a skatepark in Cubelles, Spain and we have to admit, it does look pretty impressive.

Lexus hasn’t leaked too much in-depth detail about how their newest invention works only saying that “magnetic” levitation is used to achieve its floating power. While the lack of details certainly sets off some red flags, it’s actually probably more legit than smoke and mirrors. The Hendo hoverboard had its Kickstarter moment in the sun last fall and applied a similar method, but the Lexus model is opting for a “superconductor,” according to Wired.

“With a superconductor you don’t need to have an oscillating magnetic field [like Hendo’s],” explains Eric Palm, Deputy Laboratory Director at FSU’s National High Magnetic Field Laboratory. “Instead you have something called the Meissner effect, which essentially says that when you take a magnetic field near the superconductor, it induces current in that superconductor, and creates essentially an image magnetic field on the other side of the superconductor. You create current, but since it’s a superconductor, the currents don’t die away. So you don’t need oscillating magnetic fields. You can have a magnet that levitates above a superconductor or vice versa, a superconductor that levitates above a magnet.”

Those wisps of smoke you see coming off the hoverboard don’t just look badass, they also serve a purpose. Those smoke wisps are actually liquid Nitrogen cooling the superconductor to a temperature of around -321 degrees Fahrenheit. When the liquid Nitrogen runs dry, the superconductors heat back up and your hoverboard session is over. Bummer.


The Lexus hoverboard while impressive, likely wouldn’t function too well on a normal street because of the lack of magnets and metal in your everyday sidewalk. Now, building a skatepark with magnets in the concrete specifically designed for hoverboards, that’s an idea Marty McFly would certainly be down with. They could at least open it up to the public when they’re done with their ad.

“I would never say never that it wouldn’t be something we’d have for consumer use,” said Lexus spokesperson Maurice Dumand.

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