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The Toyota Hoverboard

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http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-06-24/lexus-builds-a-functional-hoverboard-prototype

Watch out, world. Toyota is heading back to the future.

The automaker has hinted it’s looking into flying cars. Now its Lexus luxury brand has actually built a working model of a hoverboard. That’s right, an actual working hoverboard. It’s real, but not for sale. Yet.

The board uses liquid nitrogen-cooled superconductors and magnets, according to the Lexus website. The technology is already zooming around Toyota's home country. A Japanese railway company last year set a new world speed record using a magnetic-levitation train. Toyota tipped its hand a year ago that it’s been experimenting with this for cars.

“It’s very confidential information but we have been studying the flying car in our most advanced R&D area,” Hiroyoshi Yoshiki, a managing officer in Toyota’s Technical Administration Group, said in June 2014 at the Bloomberg Next Big Thing Summit in Sausalito, California. “Flying car means the car is just a little bit away from the road, so it doesn’t have any friction or resistance from the road.”

It’s been 30 years since the first Back to the Future movie was released, and Marty McFly only hopped on a hoverboard to evade his pursuers in the second installment released in 1989. Lexus plans to start testing the prototype in Barcelona this summer, and is looking forward to a special date coming up that ties in with the films.

What an interesting world we inhabit

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Is this similar tech to the Shanghai Maglev train, which has been in operation since 2004 (presumably slightly different given the lack of 'track' or guiding rails)?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maglev

The Shanghai Maglev Train, also known as the Transrapid, is the fastest commercial train currently in operation and has a top speed of 430 km/h (270 mph).

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The Driverless Hoverboard should be fun!

followed by the Apple iBoard linked to your Watch

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Is this similar tech to the Shanghai Maglev train, which has been in operation since 2004 (presumably slightly different given the lack of 'track' or guiding rails)?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maglev

The Shanghai Maglev Train, also known as the Transrapid, is the fastest commercial train currently in operation and has a top speed of 430 km/h (270 mph).

It is.

There is a semi-sensible reason for magleving the train though. So it can go at a huge speed.

Doing the same on a hover board is hugely pointless, unless you want to travel very very fast on the hoverboard.

The board will still only go where the track is laid, so in practice you would have to have hoverboard roads. The minute you went off the road you would be stuffed.

This sort of tech will only really get commercially exploited if rt superconductors become available. If this happens then I think the logisitics of implementing it become more practical. ht superconductor technology is a step forward (the cost of liquid nitrogen is much cheaper than helium) but still probably impractical in a power limited environment.

ht superconductors most practical use is in energy transmission :

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Superconductor

IIRC about 10-15% of electricity is lost in transmission. If you could make the grid out of superconductor you save that. The problem is at the moment you have to cool it down to LN2 temperatures, which negates (somewhat) the energy saving. Room temperature superconductors of course would mean this wasn't necessary.

Just one of the types of tech in development that makes doom laden predictions of energy shortages (extremely) speculative.

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That could be fun. The Watch could make the iBoard come to a halt if it decides you've been too lazy that day.

Stand up!

Sit down!

Hover!

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It is.

There is a semi-sensible reason for magleving the train though. So it can go at a huge speed.

Sounds dreadful

Doing the same on a hover board is hugely pointless, unless you want to travel very very fast on the hoverboard.

If you can make a form of transport that hovers and goes no faster than current vehicles you'll possibly make a big improvement to lots of lives (everything else being equal). Road noise is mostly tyre noise once you get above crawling speed, and I sometimes don't think people realise just how all-pervading it is and just how pleasant it is to be somewhere where there isn't any. That's where the "everything else being equal" comes in, no point if the engines are noisier (e.g. conventional hovercraft).

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Sounds dreadful

If you can make a form of transport that hovers and goes no faster than current vehicles you'll possibly make a big improvement to lots of lives (everything else being equal). Road noise is mostly tyre noise once you get above crawling speed, and I sometimes don't think people realise just how all-pervading it is and just how pleasant it is to be somewhere where there isn't any. That's where the "everything else being equal" comes in, no point if the engines are noisier (e.g. conventional hovercraft).

If you love spending time on trains that stink of piss, have toilets blocked up by paper and crap from people that have done massive dumps, that are full of beered up people yelling and swaying around and fighting then yes, it's awful. Personally the less time I have to spend on trains the better.

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Sounds dreadful

If you can make a form of transport that hovers and goes no faster than current vehicles you'll possibly make a big improvement to lots of lives (everything else being equal). Road noise is mostly tyre noise once you get above crawling speed, and I sometimes don't think people realise just how all-pervading it is and just how pleasant it is to be somewhere where there isn't any. That's where the "everything else being equal" comes in, no point if the engines are noisier (e.g. conventional hovercraft).

Agreed. However, the elf-n-safety lobby will no doubt insist that hover-cars must replicate the sound of tyres and engines, so as not to risk running anyone down.

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If you love spending time on trains that stink of piss, have toilets blocked up by paper and crap from people that have done massive dumps, that are full of beered up people yelling and swaying around and fighting then yes, it's awful. Personally the less time I have to spend on trains the better.

Then make them better to be on, not faster. The modern railway is an obnoxious, soul-less, ugly, depressing thing, and most "improvements" to it turn my stomach and leave me feeling very angry towards the people involved. I'd rather have time I need to spend made nicer than over quicker. Something I can sit back on and watch the world go by (and not at a blur), make travel something appreciated instead of endured to be over with ASAP. But as with most things we're going in the wrong direction.

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Agreed. However, the elf-n-safety lobby will no doubt insist that hover-cars must replicate the sound of tyres and engines, so as not to risk running anyone down.

Most car engines make very little noice compared to the tyres. Some noise could be deliberately made if needs be, which it doesn't when you're on the motorway, and not as much elsewhere.

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Will Dyson do for the hover what he did for the Hoover?

Treble the price? probably.

or did you mean will Dyson replace his outmoded ball technology with the Hover Hoover?

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It's disappointing that the hover board doesn't currently appear to be able to support much more than its own weight.

The video cuts out just as the guy steps on it, but from the displacement it looks like if he actually stood on it it would be grounded.

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It's disappointing that the hover board doesn't currently appear to be able to support much more than its own weight.

The video cuts out just as the guy steps on it, but from the displacement it looks like if he actually stood on it it would be grounded.

Agreed. The really cool thing about the video is the wisps of smoke curling around the hoverboard.

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Guest eight

Surely it just needs a nuclear powered toroidal mercury plasma accelerator, like you find in a black triangle spacecraft?

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Guest eight

Will Dyson do for the hover what he did for the Hoover?

You mean, nothing?

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No doubt someone will actually work out what the point of it is eventually.

actually, thinking about commercial applications.

if you made really big ones the size of the 40 tonne juggernaughts,and used them to transport freight.that could quite seriously reduce the fuel bills for trucking companies.

also reduce the amount the highways agency has to spend on road repairs.

downside, if they are quiet, they present a increased hazard for other road users not hearing them, so might have accidents if not fitted with "bleepers" to warn of road presence for kids and those with impaired hearing.

if they can produce en masse for a low enough price,the concept has legs.

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Quiet isn't a downside, it would be a huge upside. Traffic noise is a major problem (but people are so used to it that they don't know what they're missing and how much better it would be without it). If people can't see traffic coming and step in front of it they've only got themselves to blame. If something that removes a lot of it gets rejected just to save a few numpties that would be a massive tragedy (of the type this idiotic country loves creating).

Whether or not it would save on fuel bills depends upon how much it needs just to keep it in the air. There would still be wind resistance of course but particularly for slower journeys that's a smaller part.

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I'm glad it's made by Lexus division. It will cost twice as much and the parts will be expensive.

It's probably quite a useless invention really.

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