• France's news in English

First 'hoverboard' unveiled in Paris

Matthew Warren · 13 Oct 2011, 11:27

Published: 13 Oct 2011 12:07 GMT+02:00
Updated: 13 Oct 2011 11:27 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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.

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.



Matthew Warren (news.france@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
France joins fight for rich pickings from post-Brexit UK
Photo: AFP/DcnH/Flickr

France tries to woo EU's bank regulator and other agencies.

How speaking French can really mess up your English
Photo: CollegeDegree360/Flickr

So you've mastered French, but now it's time to learn English all over again.

French claims that Jungle camp is empty are rubbished
Photo: AFP

Reports from the scene say scores of migrants are still in the area of the Jungle despite French authorities claiming "mission fulfilled."

Kidnapped Riviera millionaire left tied up in car boot in Nice
Photo: AFP

Head of luxury Cannes hotel has been found alive after being kidnapped in Nice on Monday.

Paris landlords still charging illegally high rents
Photo: Panoramas/Flickr

... and it's tenants in the smaller apartments that get hit the hardest. Could you be paying too much?

France takes baby steps to make life simpler
Photo: AFP

... including extending the ridiculously short time limit for registering a new baby.

IN PICTURES: Calais Jungle camp goes up in flames
All Photos: AFP

Migrants leave behind a scorched camp as they are moved to locations across France.

French expats in UK suffer Brexit abuse
French ambassador to the UK Sylvie Bermann with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. Photo: AFP

French nationals no longer feel at home in the UK, ambassador says. But Brits in France have been greeted with sympathy since the referendum.

Six to go on trial in France over topless Kate photos
Photo: AFP

The topless pics sparked fury among the royals.

France sees biggest drop in jobless rate for 20 years
Photo: AFP

Good news at last. But it's unlikely to keep President François Hollande in his job.

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available