On August 5, Lexus officially released a video demonstrating the capabilities of its hoverboard (on August 4, the Russian branch of the company published it ahead of schedule ). At the same time, reviews emerged from a skate park in Spain, where Lexus invited journalists to test a one-of-a-kind sample.
According to Sam Sheffer, author of The Verge , what the company had intrigued Back to the Future fans with for so long turned out to be not a real hoverboard, but just a marketing gimmick and an attempt to attract attention to itself.
To showcase the hoverboard's capabilities, Lexus has built a skate park an hour's drive from Barcelona. Its main feature is that its covering is made of wood decorated with a cement look, but metal "rails" are hidden under it: without them the flying skate cannot move.
The board balances on electromagnets due to the physical effect of "vortex pinning", when the superconductor is "fixed" in space with a relatively powerful magnet. These magnets are located inside the hoverboard and require constant cooling down to –197 ° C using liquid nitrogen.
Cooling gas is consumed in the hoverboard, like a battery in a smartphone: according to the author who tested the board, Sam Schaeffer, it had to be refilled into the tanks every 20 minutes, and the "refueling" itself also took 10-15 minutes.
A hoverboard is very different from a skateboard in terms of riding: it is unstable, it is impossible (or at least very difficult) to turn on it, and it is only 4 centimeters from the ground. Although professional skater Ross McGuran has even demonstrated jumping over a ramp span, Schaeffer, himself an experienced skater, was unable to travel further than a few meters to avoid hitting the bottom of the park surface.
Lexus does not plan to launch mass production of the hoverboard: it exists in a single copy. In addition, Lexus did not create it on its own, but with the help of researchers from the IFW Institute in Dresden and its subsidiary company evico, specializing in magnetic levitation technologies.
According to Schaeffer, all the company has done is get everyone's attention to the hoverboards. Nevertheless, the world has not yet come very close to the technologies described in the movie "Back to the Future", and until the day in the future , to which his characters were sent, there are less than three months left.
Riding a hoverboard is very difficult. In addition, it must be constantly cooled with liquid nitrogen. It was so hot in Spain that day that we could only ride the hoverboard for 10-15 minutes before refueling it again - it took another 10-15 minutes. In this regard, I would like to ask a question: why does this thing even exist?
The Lexus Hoverboard is not a real product, it is just a special effect created to advertise cars. This is a series of commercials featuring bright lights, mechanical dolls, glowing costumes and rapper will.i.am. The difference is that you never want to have a giant "Guitar Hero" level for your car, but you still want to have a hoverboard. Fortunately, there are other companies like Hendo that are actually working on levitation technology with ambitions that go beyond marketing alone.