With 2015 being the year Back to the Future II envisioned as the future, everyone is looking to celebrate what the future of 1989 was supposed to look like. Earlier this year, Nike announced they’d be releasing a version of Marty McFly’s self-lacing Air Mags. And now, Lexus may have one-upped them, releasing a teaser video revealing a sneak peek at an actual working hoverboard.
While, yes, this is a working hoverboard, don’t go getting too excited just yet. You can’t bring this prototype to the park and start floating all around. “It looks like it can go anywhere, but it really can’t,” Lexus spokeswoman Maurice Durand explained to Quartz.
According to the official Lexus site, the hoverboard uses “magnetic levitation” to float. The board itself features liquid nitrogen cooled superconductors (that explains the smoke in the video above) over a pre-constructed steel rail underneath the track. It’s essentially a much stronger version of the effect when you try to push the like poles of a magnet together.
So unfortunately, unless you have, or would like to build, an underground steel rail, you’re probably not going to be able to do much with this new hoverboard. And, Lexus even admits this is less about building a product for commercial use, and more about “tantalizing people with an exciting bit of pop culture” (i.e., getting people talking about the Lexus brand, which we’re already doing).
With the technology to essentially shrink a large superconductor into a space as small and flat as a hoverboard already here, it’s a decent step forward in making consumer-friendly hoverboards a reality. There are still some hurdles to overcome (having skaters handle liquid nitrogen to fuel their boards seems dangerous to say the very least), but soon, all it will take is a company willing to build hoverboard parks with the tracks and courses pre-built and we’re on our way to making the future a reality.
Stay tuned as Lexus plans to reveal even more videos and photos of the board in coming weeks.