BTS 046: The Lexus Hoverboard Explained
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While writing for the 'Behind The Science' series, I pursuit to create special 4-part arcs to shed more light on a particular topic. Check out the first two arcs: "Weird Amphibians" and "Unique Forest". What should we discover on the third arc? One of my favourite, future technology.

Let's start on this new arc with the Lexus Hoverboard - a real life hoverboard!

Credit: TED/ Boaz Almog

Credit: TED/ Boaz Almog

Teased in late June 2015, the Lexus Hoverboard, called SLIDE, can be described as a life-sized version of levitating disc that was featured on Behind The Science 007. The key to this form of levitation is to use a superconductor to induce what is known as the Meissner effect. This effect is the expulsion of a magnetic field from the hoverboard.

However, the Meissner effect is characteristically wobbly and unstable due to uncontrolled expulsion of the magnetic field. And for reasons not yet explained by the engineers at Lexus, the SLIDE is able to counter that characteristic to make the hoverboard usually. Whether this is achieve using quantum locking (which only applies for thin objects) or some other feat of engineering, we wouldn't know until they speak.

Regardless of which, one thing is clear, the hoverboard can only work on a magnetic surface - and that is true in the video. More information had been made available since releasing the teaser video and it was confirmed that magnetic tracks are embedded beneath the ground.

Photo Credit: El Patin

Photo Credit: El Patin

As The Verge reports, citing El Patin, Lexus built an entire skatepark that the hoverboard can work on! And since there are ramps, is Lexus planning to do jump tricks with SLIDE? I can't ride a skateboard given my bad sense of balance, but what would you do with a hoverboard? And do you think it is worth embedded magnets into major roads and walkways in the future to achieve this?

You can go behind the science of the SLIDE, the innovative Hoverboard by Lexus that works by starting here.

Check out these other articles as part of the 4-part special "Future Technology" Arc.


BEHIND THE SCiENcE is a series about facts of the world worth knowing, worth sharing.
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