So, this is a Lexus commercial.
You might wonder
Why a car company is using a hoverboard in one of its ads.
Is Lexus planning to make hoverboards now?
No shock! It’s just another marketing stunt.
But the hoverboard you see is very real.
It’s actually levitating and you can totally ride it.
But, is it the transportation of the future?
So, for like the last two decades,
We’ve been teased with the existence of the functional hoverboards.
Back to the Future Part II
gave us a glimpse of what a hoverboard may look like in the year 2015.
Director Robert Zemeckis further fueled our imaginations
By claiming that they used real hoverboards in the film,
And that the only thing stopping these things from being mass-produced
was concerned parent groups.
But that’s not true at all. They didn’t exist.
Last year, Funny or Die trolled the internet
with Christopher Lloyd, Tony Hawk and random celebrities
riding a fake hoverboard called the Hover
which they swore up and down was true.
And that was also not real!
So, when Lexus released its first hoverboard teaser earlier this summer,
I, along with the rest of the internet, was super skeptical.
It looked so real. But Lexus out of all companies?
And then we were invited to see the thing in person.
The whole thing felt a little bit weird.
In a beach town, about 45 minutes away from Barcelona,
Lexus built an entire skate park, or a hover park if you will,
that acted as the site for its commercial.
And yeah, this park was built just for the hoverboard, which does exactly what you think.
是的 这座公园是专门为悬浮滑板而建造的 就像你想的一样
It hovers off the ground like a proper hoverboard,
But as I’m sure you’ve guessed, there are some big caveats,
Like the track it needs to run on, which is crucial to how the thing works at all.
Inside the board are rolls of superconductors.
A special property of these type two superconductors is that
When they’re cooled down to a critical temperature,
They exhibit properties that alter and manipulate any magnetic field around them.
Therefore, the board must be ridden above highly engineered track
That’s carefully embedded with magnets
Strong enough to hold the board and the rider
Normally, the track is hidden under the hover part.
The board must be resting upon a portion of that same track
When being cooled with liquid nitrogen,
Which essentially programs it to levitate at a certain height.
After this process is complete, the board can be brought over to the park
and will hover above the track at roughly the same height about four centimeters.
This technology isn’t actually that new.
It’s a process called flux pinning
and we’ve seen people do some fun things with this on a small scale before.
But now, that is being applied to a hoverboard. What’s that actually like to ride?
但是现在 它被使用到悬浮滑板上 滑在上面是什么感觉呢？
It’s not as easy as riding a skateboard where all four wheels are on the ground.
The magnetic track in the ground lines up vertically with the center of the board.
So, it’s kind of like you’re on a tight rope.
And if your balance isn’t perfectly distributed on this thing,
You end up scraping the ground with the undersides of the board.
It took me like 15 minutes just to glide a few feet.
So yeah, no shot I was going to ride around the park
所以 是的 我没办法像马蒂·麦克弗莱在《回到未来2》里那样
Like Marty Mcfly did in Back to the Future Part 2.
Luckily though, I had a chance to speak with pro skater Ross McGowan,
The guy featured in the commercial.
– So you’ve been skating for 15, 20 years. – It’s 20 years, yeah.
– 你玩滑板玩了15到20年了？ – 是 20年了
And how long did it take you to get to master？
In a sense that you could ride around without scraping?
Yeah, I mean, often that’s been like 5, 6 months, I’m trying to,
是的 过程大概会需要5-6个月时间 我一直在努力
So even now, I can go down this straight line, even some corners,
所以即使到现在 虽然我可以沿着直线往前滑 甚至是转弯
Just scrapes a bit but you can ride yourself as quick enough.
So you don’t fall off, you can feel it under your feet,
Feel that speed sport, right？When you try it.
– Yeah! Yeah! – Just feeling of some invisible air rail thing is what feels like to me.
– 是的！ – 对我来说 就像某种无形的空气轨道一样
So, riding the hoverboard is very difficult.
And besides that, another major problem with this thing
is that it needs to be constantly cooled with liquid nitrogen.
And when it was as hot as it was outside that day in Spain,
we got ten or fifteen minutes on the board before it had to be refilled,
a process itself that takes another ten or fifteen minutes.
At this point, I gotta wonder why this thing even exists.
Lexus hoverboard isn’t actually a product.
It’s just a special effect in a car commercial.
It’s part of series Lexus refers to as Amazing in Motion.
是雷克萨斯系列的一部分 被称为“Amazing in Motion”
which has used lots of flashy props before,
large mechanical puppets dancing through the streets of Madrid,
light suits flying through Kuala Lumpur. And even will.i.am.
And my voice is being trapped by a laser.
The difference is that you’d never expect to own
what is essentially a gigantic guitar hero-looking level for your car or an LED light suit.
You sure as hell would want a hoverboard though.
Fortunately, there are companies like Hendo that are actually working on levitation technology
with ambitions beyond marketing.
But right now, Lexus hasn’t brought us any closer to being Marty McFly.
Maybe that’s just as well considering the insane limitations of the Lexus hoverboard.
You need lots of money to build a track, gallons and gallons of liquid nitrogen on hand,
and five months of training just to master your balance.
So the next time a car company promises you a little bit back to the future-style science fiction,
you might wanna limit your expectations and just tell them this,
“Why don’t you make like a tree and get out of here?”
So, this is a Lexus commercial.