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Google could build a hoverboard, but won't

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Buried deep in the bowels of Google's top-secret X lab is the technology that could, theoretically, enable us to all have a Back to the Future-style hoverboard. Unfortunately, according to the lab's director of moonshots, that's where it's going to stay, disappointing all of the bullied nerds of Hill Valley. Obi Felten revealed at the Hello Tomorrow conference in Paris that researchers had successfully developed a method to "levitate carbon on magnets," but that it struggled to see that too many people would actually want such a device. Yeah, we know.

Felten was talking about how the X lab rapidly develops a technology and then works out if it has a purpose. If not, then it's taken to a large trash can entitled "technologies in search of a use case" and dumped until we really need it -- like in the event of an alien invasion. In the case of the hoverboard, Felten and co. simply couldn't see much of a market for the hardware beyond the "skater crowd," and so scuttled the project.

Of course, it's not as if we really need Google, since companies from Lexus to Hendo have worked on their own hoverboards. Admittedly, much like the superconducting urinal cake developed by Tel Aviv University, there's plenty of caveats, like the fact it can only work against metal surfaces and not, you know, the key trifecta of concrete, water and Biff Tannen's face.

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