Scientists apply quantum levitation to toy race track

By Stephen C. Webster
Tuesday, January 3, 2012 16:26 EDT
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A quantum levitation experiment inspired by the PlayStation game WipEout. Image: Screengrab via YouTube.
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In a video published in the midst of the Christmas season, virtually guaranteeing we didn’t see it right away, scientists with the Japan Institute of Science and Technology created a toy race track with a unique feature: cars that float.

Inspired by the futuristic hover-craft racing games in Sony’s WipEout series for PlayStation consoles, the scientists designed their own high speed racers and built a track lined with electromagnets.

Using a device to manipulate the electrical current beneath both vehicles, they fitted each with liquid nitrogen propellant and let them go, watched as they sped around the track without ever even touching it.

“With this new technology, we hope to revolutionize the world of motor transport,” they wrote. “Maybe in a near future we could assist to a real WipEout race.”

This video was published to YouTube on Dec. 24, 2011.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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