Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Techy Tuesday - The Lexus Hoverboard

To a generation of young engineers who grew up watching Back to the Future II  with Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly riding his hoverboard around town, it seems like it had to happen that some group got together and succeeding in inventing one.  The video:

The design depends on getting pucks of high temperature ceramic superconductors cold enough to levitate over a metal track so the interaction of superconducting electrons and magnetic fields forces the hoverboard to levitate off the track.  Liquid nitrogen (usually called LN2) isn't terribly expensive; the last time I bought some it was a bit less than the price of regular gasoline, but I'll admit I haven't checked.  In itself, the price of some LN2 isn't going to hinder this as much as the special track would, but I can see it being useful for amusement park fun rides.  I bet they could sell a lot of rides for the price of a gallon of regular gas.  It's not something you'll be able to ride anywhere like a skateboard, as Michael J Fox did in that movie.

I swear I've seen a couple of groups saying they've gotten them running, including some with websites implying they're just about there on the market, but they don't really seem to be.  This Lexus board appears to be quite close to commercially feasible.  Lexus seems to be motivated by using this as a poster child for how innovative they are.  Works for me!

1 comment:

  1. the HUVr video looked a bit flaky, a little digging reveals it to be a hoax, why is anyone's guess.