Written by IEEE | August 13, 2015 | Updated: April 3, 2017
Tech geeks have been hungry for a real-life hoverboard ever since Marty McFly gave us a glimpse in his 21st century excursion. The Hollywood funny guys behind Funny or Die teased its audience with a video clip featuring skateboarding legend Tony Hawk. Well, the joke’s on them.
Kickstarter-funded Hendo Hoverboard has already proven hoverboard technology to be a possibility, and now Lexus is hopping on the hoverboard bandwagon with an iteration of their own that they’ve named SLIDE. A recent Wired article dissects just how Lexus’ prototype works, which doesn’t differ much from the Hendo.
Both companies cite magnetic levitation, but the difference lies within the type of magnetic field they create. Hendo relies on a plain conductor that relies on an oscillating magnetic field, whereas SLIDE gets its power from a superconductor. If you watched Lexus’ promotional video from SLIDE, you may have noticed smoke. The smoke is not quite a creative liberty, but instead comes from the liquid nitrogen needed to keep the superconductor cool.
Whether you’re leaning toward a high-end Lexus or a crowdfunded Hendo, it’s clear that hoverboards are finally a 21st century reality, but they won’t be replacing traditional forms of transportation anytime soon.