For the past two months, Lexus has been gradually releasing details regarding their “Amazing” Slide hoverboard – but of course, never the technology inside of it. Today, the Japanese automaker finally released the details behind the Slide hoverboard and why they set out to do it.
As expected, the board was a publicity stunt for the brand’s mission of tackling design challenges and “always try(ing) to achieve the impossible” as a part of their ongoing Amazing in Motion campaign.
Although the resulting board design is constrained to a specially-designed track (located in Cubelles, Barcelona) and eager riders will have to wait a little longer for their own hoverboard, the one-off concept is still one of the most badass publicity stunts we’ve seen in a very long time.
As for the technical details behind how the board works, the Lexus Hoverboard Technology features “two ‘cryostats’―reservoirs in which superconducting material is kept at -197 degrees through immersion in liquid nitrogen,” the company explained.
For clarity and understanding, here’s a more detailed look at the technology from Tel-Aviv University:
The board itself is then placed above a custom designed 200-meter-long track – which lives beneath a skatepark – that contains permanent magnets where the the magnetic field from the track is ‘frozen’ into the superconductors in the board. The resulting hovering effect is caused by the maintained and balanced distance between the board and the track which allows a rider to stand, propel and jump on the board.
Of course, you can’t test a hoverboard without calling upon the skills of a pro skateboarder.
Since the project started 18 months ago, the team of magnetic levitation scientists kept pro rider Ross McGouran busy with a series of ongoing tests during the process of developing the technology in order to push the board to its limits.
“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 the hoverboard. It’s a whole new experience,” said McGouran.
“Embarking on this project, we set out to push the boundaries of technology, design and innovation to make the impossible possible,” added Mark Templin, Executive Vice President at Lexus International.
“Even through combining our technology and expertise, we discovered making a hoverboard isn’t an easy process. We’ve experienced the highs and lows and have overcome a few challenges, but through mutual determination we have created a demonstration of our philosophy in design and technology to create Amazing in Motion.”
Find out more about the story behind the development by heading over to the official Slide website.