What It's Like to Stand Next to a Hoverboard, Unable to Ride It

The future is here and it's amazing, but the PR people didn't want me to touch it.


Lexus’ new hoverboard, SLIDE, which actually hovers and doesn’t blow up, got a ton of press when it hit YouTube. It looked like a prank, but it wasn’t. The catch was more complicated: SLIDE uses magnetics to create levitation so it relies on magnetic rails embedded in the ground. Still, everyone pretty much agreed that it was dope.

No wonder I was determined to try the thing out at CES. I made a beeline for it first thing Wednesday morning when the show floor finally opened. Walking towards a hoverboard with the intent to ride it, I’m happy to report, feels fucking fantastic. Being told you can’t ride it, well, that sucks.

Purple. Cool.

Neel V. Patel

As you can see, Lexus kept the hoverboard encased in glass the whole time. The only ‘demonstration’ they had going was a series of videos playing on touchscreens surrounding the display. Those videos were basically just recut versions of what the company has already been posting online in the least several months.

Granted, seeing that the hoverboard is a real thing actually was pretty neat. Lexus went with a stylish blend of wood and metal that gives SLIDE a retrofuture feel. And if what the videos show is the real deal, the hoverboard allows the user to whiz around in a smooth glide — even if it has to be on a specific track.

Alas, as we mentioned in June, the whole thing seems to be just a PR stunt to allow Lexus to somewhat shed its current reputation as a luxury car specialist. If consumers ever do get their hands on it, it won’t be many years from now. Perhaps this technology could be applied to future projects that are bit more feasible and cost-effective to build and sell. Maybe the company will even let people try it out at a future CES.

Still, I’ll always remember the feeling of walking towards that booth. Thinking you’re going to ride a hoverboard is great. It’s probably better than riding one, but I wouldn’t know.