Recent discoveries in the field of super conductive magnetism and the video game Wipe’out have inspired the JAPAN INSTITUTE OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY to make the toy every child will want next Christmas: hovering toy cars. While the technology that powers these tiny racers probably wont scale up to a full sized car, it’s neat to see what creative minds can do with this fluke of electro-magnetism.
Before we get too excited, it’s important to note that many have called into question the validity of this video. As far as anyone can tell the JAPAN INSTITUTE OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY didn’t exist before this video hit the web and this the only video on their YouTube channel. Whoever edited this video went through the trouble of blurring out the name badges of everyone shown. Last, and probably the most
telling, is that at the (1:14) mark you can kinda see the vapor trail of the yellow car through the track. Regardless, Quantum Levitation (also called Flux Pinning) is possible in-spite of being mind blowingly unbelievable to watch.
It works by using a very thin superconductor that is cooled with liquid nitrogen. This allows it to conduct electricity with no loss of energy. When introduced to a magnetic field, tiny imperfections in the thin materiel allow magnetic forces to pass both through it and around it locking it in place. While the Wipe’out track may be the work of clever CG artists, what they are showing is completely plausible. Here is a bonafide example of what amounts to a toy race track using Flux Pinning: