The science behind the fascinating Lexus hoverboard
Posted On August 29, 2015
Just this week, Lexus released a video showing how their new hoverboard technology works. The existence of the hoverboard has already been predicted in the movie Back to the Future II. Ever since, everyone has been heads over heels anticipating that someone would finally make it a reality.
Back to future hoverboard [Image Courtesy of The Glorio Blog]
The hoverboard is actually a skateboard that literally floats in air, so it has no wheels. Obviously, the nature of the hoverboard makes it tricky to be made. However, Lexus came up with a pretty smart idea on how to actually make this utopic fantasy a rality.
The Lexus hoverboard [Image Courtesy of Wired]
The principle behind the operation of the Lexus hoverboard is actually quite straightforward; magnets. Basically, a magnet has two poles, the North pole and the South pole. Like poles repel each other while unlike poles attract each other. Since any object – in this case a hoverboard – in air will fall to the ground due to the force of gravity, the repulsion between like poles in magnets will be used to oppose that gravitational force that pulls the hoverboard to the groud.
A magnet track was made for the Lexus hoverboard and that’s the only place where it actually levitates on. These magnets will aid in the suspension of the hoverboard by repelling the hoverboard with their magnetic force. In the case of the hoverboard, a superconductor was placed beneath it. The reason behind this is that ideally, an oscillating magnetic field would be required in order to suspend the hoverboard successfully. However, when a superconductor is used, the oscillating magnetic field would no longer be required.
[Image Courtesy of Spoid]
This is in accordance with the Meissner Effect which basically says that when a magnet is brought near a superconductor, the superconductor acquires the same magnetic properties as that of the magnet due to the current induced in the superconductor by that magnet. This way, since the superconductor will essentially be an exact replica of the magnet at that time, the magnetic repulsion explained earlier will prevent the Lexus hoverboard from touching the track and basically be suspended in air.
Here is a quick video visually demonstrating the science behind the fascinating Lexus hoverboard. Enjoy!