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First 'hoverboard' unveiled in Paris

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Matthew Warren - [email protected]
First 'hoverboard' unveiled in Paris
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It may not be quite as slick as the hoverboard from the Back to the Future movies in the 1980s, but visitors to the Paris science fair have been floating at a height of 2 centimetres on the first levitating skateboard.

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The developers of the skateboard, called MagSurf, have harnessed the science of superconductivity to propel people along a 5-metre track at the science fair, which is running until October 16th.

Superconductivity was originally discovered 100 years ago by the Dutch physicist Heile Kammerlingh-Omnes.

The superconductor effect expels the magnetic field passing through it, allowing levitation to happen. The board has a four litre tank of liquid nitrogen which is frozen at a temperature of -195˚ Celsius. 

"We have built an ideal object for the public to discover the spectacular manifestations of quantum physics," said Alain Sacuto, a physics professor at the Paris VII university.

He added that "no-one has been able to master moving human levitation" until now.

In the Back to the Future 2 movie starring Michael J Fox, his character Marty created his own levitating skateboard from a child's scooter.

The new invention may not accelerate or corner as well as the one in the movie, but it has proved a hit with visitors young and old eager to experience the sensation of floating in the air.

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