The problem with current hoverboards is that they all look awful and they’re incredibly impractical. Perhaps I shouldn’t be so harsh when it comes to technology that can essentially allow humans to travel through the power of levitation, but considering Marty McFly had a fully functional, rad-looking hoverboard when he traveled to the year 2015 in Back to the Future II, I think I can be forgiven for being a little bit salty that all we’ve got are hoverboards that rely upon magnetic flooring in order to work. I didn’t even know magnetic flooring existed until we were introduced to the Hendo Hover, a (very limited) method of transportation that, while still pretty revolutionary, was hardly going to appeal to anyone outside of those looking to build upon the tech.
So in come Toyota with the Lexus Slide hoverboard, a piece of equipment that – sigh – again relies upon magnetism to work, but at least this particular model looks like something you wouldn’t be embarrassed to stand on. Toyota have stated that the Slide can hover using magnetic levitation created by superconductors, with a cryostat cooling liquid nitrogen inside of the hoverboard that effectively keeps the superconductors cold, along with creating this awesome smoking effect.
Though the images and above video appear to show the board hovering above a solid, concrete ground, it will still require a magnetic surface in order to work, thus making its promo material a little misleading. The Slide hoverboard has been in development for 18 months across Germany and London, and with the aforementioned Hendo Hover having already proved that there’s a market for this kind of thing after garnering over $500,000 on its Kickstarter campaign, this certainly looks like a much more practical application of the tech given its sleek design, which has seen Toyota include materials typically seen in the manufacturer’s Lexus automobiles.
So it looks smart, but again, this isn’t exactly going to replace your current skateboard or bicycle as an eco-friendly method of transport. Nevertheless, Toyota has at least set a benchmark for how this tech should look in the future, if companies are going to continue to pursue developing hoverboards in the hope of finally bringing us closer towards Robert Zemeckis’ vision of the future.