“Back to the Future 2” promised us so much in 2015. By now we’re supposed to have self-tying shoes and automatic dog walkers not to mention the Cubs winning the World Series. While there’s still five months left in the year, we’re pretty confident that none of these will materialize between now and January 1, 2016. But one thing that looks like it will happen is the famed hoverboard.

The automaker Lexus has been teasing their floating skateboard for some months now. The latest video, which shows the gizmo sliding across the screen, suggests August 5 could be the day of the big reveal. However, unlike the hoverboard that Marty McFly rides on through Hill Valley, this one will certainly have more than a few limitations.
According to Eric Eason, who has a Ph.D. in Applied Physics from Stanford, in order for a hoverboard to work, “the surface [you’re riding on] needs to have strong magnets embedded in it. So it’s not like you could use this on the sidewalk.” He adds that because of the number of superconductors used in such a device, it could cost “five or maybe six figures.” As for the smoke that’s coming off the board in the video, that’s likely from the liquid nitrogen required to keep the superconductors below approximately -300 Fahrenheit.

This is not the first time the idea of a hoverboard has been floated around either. The Bay Area company Hendo has developed a working prototype and raised more than $500,000 in a Kickstarter campaign to get their project off the ground.


David Eckstein is a writer living in Los Angeles.