Lexus released a video in 2015 that showed a functioning hoverboard skateboard levitating above the ground by using the magnetic energy of superconductors. This Lexus model follows the Kickstarter release of another version by Hendo, a device that utilizes magnetic fields without employing the advantages of a superconductor.
Both companies’ skateboards hover 1 inch above the ground and need a metallic surface to work. The Hendo skate park relies on a copper sheet placed under a thin layer of concrete to activate the magnetic field. The Lexus course uses magnets under the pavement on a specific path that react with the energy of the board’s superconductors.
The Lexus model, which uses a built-in superconductor cooled by liquid nitrogen, relies on the magnetic field it creates to push off other magnets nearby. The Hendo model uses similar technology to that used in fast moving trains of China and Japan, in which electromagnets built into the undercarriage push the train or board off of the negatively charged track.
Restricted to specially built parks, the companies see both hoverboards as prototypes, evolving into more functional models as the technology develops. Hendo’s board is further limited by a seven-minute charge time and an ear-piercing screech when in use.