Imagine gliding a few inches off the ground or over water on a vehicle the size of a skateboard. That's now possible with the Lexus hoverboard, a state-of-the-art technology that seemingly defies the laws of physics.
Lexus unveiled its hoverboard Tuesday in a YouTube promo video. The footage shows professional skateboarder Ross McGouran struggling to get his bearings on what's obviously not an ordinary mode of transportation.
Eventually, McGouran is able to ride around a skate park in Spain Lexus made specifically for the video, and even skims over a long pool of water.
"We've made the impossible, possible: The Lexus Hoverboard is here," the company claimed in the video's description.
Lexus has been dropping hints of its hoverboard technology prior to the video release. In June, the car company released a short video for the hoverboard and a brief description about the technology behind it, saying the device relied on "magnetic levitation," according to Wired.
The board weighs 25 pounds and was made of bamboo and carbon fiber, according to Lexus. "The board is very stable when the load is well centered," Oliver de Haas, one of the engineers behind the hoverboard, told Wired U.K. "But it is a bit wobbly around its long axis. This makes it challenging for a boarder to keep it balanced. Using more magnets in the track would make the whole thing more stable, so everybody could ride it — but it probably wouldn't be as exciting."
What's the secret to the hoverboard's levitation? Magnets.
Inside the hoverboard are two magnetic superconductors, which are cooled to below minus 293 degrees Fahrenheit with liquid nitrogen (that's what's making the white smoke in the video). The superconductors push against magnets in the skate park to give the board its lift.
And that's the major caveat to keep in mind. The Lexus hoverboard wouldn't work outside a skate park that wasn't entirely made out of magnets.
It's not so much that Lexus is trying to trick us. "The point is that a car company has been pushing the boundaries of styling (love it or hate it) for the past few years is now pushing the boundaries of modern technology," Robb Holland wrote Monday in Jalopnik. "By spending cubic dollars on an ad campaign they may have inadvertently helped advance a technology that makes the modern automobile obsolete."