The Pursuit of Levitation

Apparently, now is the right time to hover.

Scheduling my ride on the first-ever hoverboard last Friday was born out of availability and great airfare. It never dawned on me that the subsequent week would reveal the first glimpse of the world’s second hoverboard: SLIDE.

Utilizing similar principals of magnetism, the specialized design group at Lexus has dipped its toe into the water (well, technically in the air) of hover technology following Arx Pax and their pioneering Hendo Hoverboard. Still, the specific components between the Hendo and Lexus hoverboards are distinguishable enough.

“Lexus said the test hoverboard in its “Amazing in Motion” campaign generates magnetic levitation by combining the effects of liquid nitrogen-cooled superconductors and permanent magnets” (USA Today).

Appearance wise, the hoverboard by Lexus is sleek and appears consumer-ready. Functionality wise, however, is still a lingering question. Looks like October 21st of this year will reveal that verdict, the same day Marty McFly quickly found out the answer to this question. Also, Hendo does not use liquid nitrogen-cooled superconductors, which is important to note for a couple reasons. First, both companies have legitimate claims to creating original hovering technologies, however similar the role magnets are to flotation. Second, it’s wonderful to see there is more than one way to build a hoverboard.

The creative minds at Hendo and Lexus, developing this desired mode of transportation out of nostalgia for the future (it makes sense), are in the alpha stage. Envisioning what the beta stage and beyond will produce is exciting as reductions in cost (Hendo’s board costs $10,000), battery life improvements and infrastructure will undoubtedly become focal points of business plans going forward. Perhaps this leads to a small skate park with magnets built underneath in the next few years (Lexus did that for the video above), then a long pathway around a park and then Marty’s daring and boundless flight throughout a town square will be reality soon thereafter.

Except over water.

The power of movies (and love for the BTTF fan) is inspiring for many reasons. Despite living in 2015 without most of the cool advancements featured in Back to the Future Part II, those scenes have clearly made a permanent impression on fans and innovators alike as a future to strive for and build towards. That’s incredible. The sparks of innovation can literally come from anywhere.

And Lexus seems to be opening a future debate: Will consumers buy a luxury car or a luxury hoverboard?

They may be surprised by the answer.


Posted on June 25, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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