Okay, you have probably seen the same headlines since the teaser of the Lexus Hoverboard concept a few weeks back.
Well, this is the full reveal with award-winning film and much more technical explanation.
And let me tell you, this is quite a project.
Lexus developed this magnetic levitating skateboard to not be an April fools jest, or even a Popular Science look into the future. This is the future, and it is hovering around a custom skate park in Barcelona as we speak.
So what were the goals?
— Real rideability and fun — but sans friction and rolling wheels below.
— Flexible future use applications: everything from factory floors to floating cars can, in theory, run on this technology. For now, any size human’s weight is the design brief — keeping the board small and lighter than a longboard (or industrial) version might be.
— A technical and branding showcase for the Lexus Amazing in Motion ethos.
Just a few more questions?
If you think like me, you might ask HOW?? and WHEN will it go to market?
The HOW might require some kind of physics or at least engineering degree to fathom. The short version is:
— the board levitates and keeps its preset distance to any surface thanks to two ‘cryostats.’ These are liquid-nitrogen-encased magnets that form a resistive current — pushing the ground away from the bottom of the board. Keeping the cryostats bonded and powering the magnetic levitation requires a constant -197-degrees. This explains the misty steam that vents out in artful billows as you glide around.
— for the Barcelona skatepark demo, there is a secret under the ramps and half-pipes. 200-plus meters of magnetic material lives below the ‘hoverpark’ surface.
Unclear what the surface treatment of the park is, but likely similar to mag-lev bullet train ‘tracks.’
The base magnetic elements are built below a wood structure for the skate park features. The Hoverboard is not limited to specific routes, but this foundation part of the technology appears to be at least half the technical challenge.
Did you watch the vid? Pretty fantastic innovation showcase! Lexus shares the credit with a few R&D gurus in the mag-lev field: evico GmbH and IFW Dresden. Combine industrial innovation, academic experimentation and the Lexus budget… and poof!
This stunning Lexus GLIDE Hoverboard prototype.
We hope the tech is commercialized ASAP — even if it can’t get Doc up to 88-mph….
Either way, the video above is from an award-winning director — and is def worth the two minutes.
2015 Lexus Hoverboard – Liq Nitro Cryostat MagLev Prototype
Lexus Hoverboard Ride Revealed
New Film for the Latest Amazing in Motion Campaign Shows Final Testing in Barcelona
TOKYO, August 05, 2015 — Following the unveiling of the Lexus Hoverboard in June, the luxury automotive company is completing a full and final reveal of the project concluding a successful testing phase which took place in Cubelles, Barcelona.Mark Templin, Executive Vice President at Lexus International said: “Embarking on this project, we set out to push the boundaries of technology, design and innovation to make the impossible possible. With this project we call ‘SLIDE’, we collaborated with partners who share our passion for creating enjoyment out of motion. 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.”The Lexus Hoverboard project began 18 months ago through a collaboration with a team of scientists from IFW Dresden and evico GmbH, who specialize in magnetic levitation technology. Following extensive testing with pro skateboarder and hoverboard test rider Ross McGouran, in Dresden, Germany, the team were determined to push the hoverboard to its limits and conduct further tests within dynamic surroundings.
“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 pro skateboarder and hoverboard test rider Ross McGouran.
Since the Lexus Hoverboard was unveiled in June, testing has been carried out in a specially constructed hoverpark, combining elements from skate culture with technology within its architecture. Up to 200 meters of magnetic track was transported to Barcelona from the Dresden facility to lay beneath the hoverpark surface in order to create the dynamic test, offering Lexus the opportunity to demonstrate tricks no skateboard could ever perform, like travelling across water. Lexus has captured the final ride footage and released it as a film led by award winning director Henry-Alex Rubin.
The Lexus Hoverboard technology features two “cryostats”—reservoirs in which superconducting material is kept at -197 degrees through immersion in liquid nitrogen. The board is then placed above a track that contains permanent magnets. Dr. Oliver de Haas, evico CEO, said: “The magnetic field from the track is effectively ‘frozen’ into the superconductors in the board, maintaining the distance between the board and the track—essentially keeping the board hovering. This force is strong enough to allow the rider to stand and even jump on the board.”
The Lexus Hoverboard film called “SLIDE” features the high performance GS F and is part of the fourth project in the Lexus “Amazing in Motion” campaign series that showcases creativity and innovation from the Lexus brand.
About Amazing in Motion:
“Amazing in Motion” is an inspiring set of global projects, created by Lexus International to showcase its imagination, innovation and design excellence. It builds on the Lexus ambition to connect with the hearts, as well as the minds, of the consumer. SLIDE is the 4th in the series of the Amazing in Motion campaign. The previous campaigns can be viewed at: amazinginmotion.com
About evico GmbH:
evico GmbH is a subsidiary of the Leibniz-Institute for Solid State and Materials Research Dresden (IFW), both based in Dresden, Germany. Evico develops superconducting magnetic bearings for industrial applications and transportation. IFW is a leading research institute in the field of material science that performs research from the fundamentals to applications.
About Ross McGouran:
With his effortless style and huge bag of tricks, Ross has become one of the fastest and most engaging skaters around. Ross began skating 20 years ago on the concrete surfaces of his local skate park in the U.K. He came up quickly through the sponsored ranks due to his ability to skate anything—flying through every contest he entered. Ross is part of the Element Europe team. He is also a pro-rider for Vans Europe, travelling with them to countries such as Sri Lanka, China, New Zealand, Australia, and Spain.
Recent Career Achievements: 2009 and 2010 – 1st UK Champs, 2011 – 2nd UK Champs, 2012 -1st Vans DTSD Amsterdam, 2014 -1st Oslo Games.
Being sponsored by Vans & Element has given Ross a platform to showcase his talent, and magazines such as Sidewalk, The Berrics and Red Bull Skateboarding have been quick to seize on this; especially in the wake of the phenomenally successful “Hold it Down” video from 2013.
About Henry-Alex Rubin:
Upon graduating from Columbia University’s film program, Henry-Alex Rubin dove into filmmaking and was mentored by director James Mangold. Since then, Henry has made documentary films and broken into the commercial world, winning various awards along the way. Recently, Henry collaborated with Chiat Day and Gatorade on Derek Jeter’s goodbye spot celebrating Yankees fans, the city of New York and the end of Jeter’s baseball career. The spot received worldwide acclaim and was featured as Adweek’s Ad of the Day, gaining over 9 million hits on YouTube. At the Cannes Lions 2015, Henry came away with a number of Lions, including a Gold in Film for his Gatorade “Made In NY” spot. He also swept the decks with his Burger King, “Proud Whopper” spot, taking home a phenomenal 9 Lions, including 3 Gold, 3 Silver and 3 Bronze across the categories.
Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.
He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.
Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.