Car manufacturer Lexus stunned media outlets around the world recently, when they revealed that they have developed a “hoverboard.” On the Htet Tayza blog, this has inspired me to discuss whether hover technology could really enter the mainstream.
Science fiction gets it right
There’s a reason that the science fiction genre of entertainment seems to hold an element of the fantastical. So many of the inventions that are staples of these books and TV shows seem beyond the realm of comprehension.
But as a Guardian article recently pointed out, there are a lot of instances where science fiction got it right. Take the tablet computer, for example. This innovative technology was first seen being used in episodes of Star Trek, years before it was first created. It’s the same with self-driving cars; they were featured in the 1993 film Demolition Man two decades before they were actually developed.
Hover technology is the ultimate staple of the science fiction genre. TV shows as far back as The Jetsons predicted that one day we’d all be driving around in hover cars, and the thing is that their claims aren’t so far-fetched. Hover technology has actually been around for quite a while.
A report from the Huffington Post recently pointed out that hoverboards (essentially floating skate boards) already exist, and that they utilise magnetised technology to keep themselves off the ground. This means that they come with a number of key limitations; not only are they astronomically expensive, but they can’t be used on un-magnetic surfaces such as grass, wood or concrete pavement.
Lexus changes the game
Now Lexus has taken this innovation one step further. Recently they unveiled a hoverboard that utilises permanent magnets and liquid nitrogen-cooled superconductors to float.
The car manufacturer is playing its cards close to its chest, so we don’t know much about this startlingly new technology. However, we do know that it was constructed from a sturdy blend of lightweight materials including bamboo for the surface, whilst its elusive power source appears to be hidden by a body composed of a carbon-fibre mesh. Skaters in Barcelona are currently trialling a prototype of the technology.
Entering the mainstream
This may sound absurd, but let’s turn back to the tablet and the self-driving car for a minute. They sounded absurd too; wacky creations that were nothing more the imaginings sourced of technology-blind TV and film writers.
Now, the tablet is commonplace and the self-driving car is almost assured to enter the mainstream within the next decade. Will the hoverboard follow? With Lexus’ significant advancement, it appears as though one day, hover technology really could enter the mainstream.