Lexus Slide is the first working hoverboard
Lexus Slide is the first working hoverboard – a skateboard without wheels, hovering above the ground.
It is being built by the Tokyo branch of Lexus
The Tokyo branch of Lexus, a car manufacturer from Japan, is working on producing Slide.
Haruhiko Tanahashi, Lexus’ Chief Engineer leads the team
Haruhiko Tanahashi, Lexus’ Chief Engineer leads the team, and has said, ‘There is no such thing as impossible, it’s just a matter of figuring out how.’
A combination of 3 technologies makes it work
Slide works by using superconductors, magnets and liquid nitrogen. Each technology is being pushed to its limit, Lexus claims.
Slide is constructed from an insulated core
Slide is constructed from an insulated core, which contains high temperature superconducting blocks (HTSLs).
High temperature superconducting blocks (HTSLs) are cooled down
HTSLs are stored in cryostats, which are reservoirs of liquid nitrogen. These cool HTSLs down to -197 °C.
Slide works only over a special terrain
Slide hovers only over terrains that have permanent magnets integrated into them. This means special skateboarding parks will have to be built for them. (See Why do people skydive?)
It can hover over water surface
In the promotional video, Slide was shown hovering over water. This was also a tribute to the scene from Back to the Future 2 where the main protagonist uses a hoverboard over a pond.
It was inspired by the hoverboard in the movie Back to the Future 2
Hoverboard was first seen in the science fiction movie, Back to the Future 2, filmed in 1989.
Magnetic flux lines are ‘pinned’ into place
When Slide is cooled to its operating temperature of -197 °C, the terrain’s magnetic flux lines are ‘pinned’ into place. This then maintains the hover height of Slide.
Slide is extremely difficult to ride
People who tried Slide admitted it was extremely difficult to ride. This might be due to the lack of practice or because Slide lacks the feedback, which wheels on the common skateboard provide.
‘Creating SLIDE required re-engineering core technologies’
‘Creating SLIDE required re-engineering core technologies and uncovering true technical innovations’, Lexus said. (See How does it feel like to swim in the dead sea?)
Slide stays ‘charged’ for 20 minutes
Slide only stays ‘charged’ for 20 minutes. After that, the liquid nitrogen evaporates and Slide loses its superconductivity.
Slide weighs about 11 kg (20 lbs)
Slide is about the size of a large skateboard and weighs about 11 kg (20 lbs). It supports up to 200 kg (440 lbs).
Riding Slide is ‘like floating on air’
Ross McGouran, a professional skateboarder and Slide test pilot, says riding Slide is ‘like floating on air’.
Slide offers frictionless movement
Lexus said that ‘Slide offers frictionless movement of a kind that had been thought impossible.’
Release date and price are to be revealed
Lexus hasn’t revealed the release date and price yet (August 2015), but plans to do so in the future.