Way back in 1989, Back To The Future Part II predicted a future 2015 where cars fly and are fuelled by clean hydrogen fusion power and Steven Spielberg's son would be directing a 19th sequel to Jaws. It also predicted that old-fashioned skateboard would be replaced by almost-magical hoverboards, and chucked in an action-packed sequence to show just how cool that would be.
Sadly, along with all the other predictions, hoverboards seemed to have fallen by the wayside. Until today, when none other than Lexus released a video purporting to show an actual, working hoverboard which it has created.
No, we’ve double-checked the calendar and it’s not April. This appears to be a serious project, albeit one with a somewhat frivolous end product.
Apparently teams working in London and Berlin have been beavering away for 18 months on the project, which uses superconductors cooled by liquid nitrogen to create a magnetic repulsion field which causes the board to, well, hover. It's currently being tested in Barcelona by "a professional skateboarder" and while the video Lexus supplied cuts off just as the board is stood upon, the company does claim that the system works and that it will support the weight of a skater. Or hoverer.
Apparently it won’t work on just any surface though, only above one containing a certain amount of metal to give the magnetic field something to push against.
Mark Templin, Executive Vice President, Lexus International, said: "At Lexus we constantly challenge ourselves and our partners to push the boundaries of what is possible. That determination, combined with our passion and expertise for design and innovation, is what led us to take on the Hoverboard project. It's the perfect example of the amazing things that can be achieved when you combine technology, design and imagination."
Lexus’ does not appear to have any specific plans for the hoverboard. Indeed a note attached to the press release specifically says that it won’t be offering such a thing for sale. Presumably it’s more than just a publicity stunt though, and Lexus must surely be thinking if not of levitating an entire car then at least incorporating this technology into a highly advanced suspension system.