Dezeen Magazine

Lexus unveils Back to the Future-style hoverboard

Japanese car brand Lexus has revealed its eagerly anticipated hoverboard, which uses magnetic fields to carry its rider without touching the ground (+ movie).

Lexus Hoverboard

Following previews earlier this year, the Lexus Hoverboard has been filmed in action at a specially designed skatepark.

Lexus worked with scientists from research institute IFW Dresden and magnetics specialists Evico to develop the board, which uses magnetic fields to levitate.

Lexus Hoverboard

"Embarking on this project, we set out to push the boundaries of technology, design and innovation to make the impossible possible," said Lexus' executive vice president Mark Templin. "With this project we call Slide, we collaborated with partners who share our passion for creating enjoyment out of motion."

Lexus Hoverboard

The concept of using a hoverboard as a method of personal transportation was popularised by the sci-fi movie series Back to the Future. The self-lacing shoes that also featured the franchise are due to be launched by Nike this year.

The Lexus Hoverboard is shaped like a skateboard without wheels, but with a deeper profile. Its base incorporates two cryostats – chambers designed to keep a "superconducting" material at -197 degrees Celsius using liquid nitrogen.

Lexus Hoverboard

At this low temperature, the material expels a magnetic field. When placed above another magnetic field, like the one emitted from the surface of the bespoke skatepark, the repulsion that occurs between the two causes magnetic levitation.

Lexus Hoverboard

"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," said Evico CEO Oliver de Haas. "This force is strong enough to allow the rider to stand and even jump on the board."

Lexus Hoverboard

Clouds produced by the liquid nitrogen are emitted from either side of the board, adding to its futuristic appearance.

To test and demonstrate the hoverboard, over 200 metres of magnetic surface was laid beneath a skatepark in Cubelles, Barcelona, where the promotional movie was filmed. The film shows riders gliding over the skatepark's surfaces and even across the top of a pool.

Although Lexus' hoverboard is one of the most innovative recent developments of the skateboard, other designers have also updated the standard model.

In 2012, a Royal College of Art graduate created a board with an eight-wheel mechanism that allows it to ride up curbs and descend flights of steps.