Why the World Is Over Hoverboards
Hoverboards used to be so popular a few years ago. One would see kids and teens just gliding, sometimes racing, through the streets and public places on their boards.
The term was first used in the 1967 fiction novel Back to the Future. It became popular when the film Back to the Future II came out, where the protagonist Martin McFly was chased on a hoverboard by bullies. In that film, the hoverboard was literally hovering over land. It didn’t have any wheels. In contrast, real-life hoverboards have wheels. Pressure sensors power the board. They allow users to modify the speed and direction of movement.
What’s interesting is that the time setting in Back to the Future II is 2015. Real-life hoverboards entered the market around 2013, but their popularity peaked in 2015. But five years later, hoverboards are missing in action. How can a promising sci-fi-inspired piece of tech dip so quickly?
Put. It’s because of safety issues. Even the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission declared hoverboards unsafe back in 2016. Despite how cool hoverboards were, they’re rife with controversy regarding users’ safety.
Hoverboards are like electric scooters without any seats or handles. One only needs to stand on the board to enable it. Unfortunately, this design is what made the technology dangerous to use. For example, in one episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, protagonist Jake Peralta rode a hoverboard for the first time and kept falling. He was only able to move straight with the help of a co-worker, holding his torso while he moved.
Due to the low gravity of hoverboards, falling off of them is easy. The most common victims of falls are youngsters. From 2015 to 2016, there were 26,854 emergency department visits from children with hoverboard injuries. These children mostly suffered from bruises, fractures, and sprains on the wrists, arms, and ankles.
The worst-case scenario is a head injury. Though wearing a helmet while riding a hoverboard is recommended, it’s not required. Thus, there’s a high risk of sustaining a head injury just by using a hoverboard. In one study, 20% of hoverboard-related injuries were head injuries.
Depending on the severity, a head injury may affect motor skills and cognitive functions. It wouldn’t be surprising if, one day, someone would take matters to court with the help of a head injury lawyer to ask for compensatory damages as a result of a hoverboard injury.
Hoverboards are prone to overheating, which makes them a fire hazard. In July 2016, around 60 fires related to hoverboards were reported. The fires began either while hoverboards were charging, while they were being used, or while they’re just sitting somewhere, untouched. One of the fires even resulted in the death of two young girls.
Unfortunately, there is no clear reason why hoverboards catch fire, whether while being used or charged. Even more concerning is that they can burst into flames even when they’re idle. This uncertainty makes hoverboards all the more dangerous.
The world has seen how everyone ditched Samsung Note 7 after a few reports of overheating and exploding without a clear cause. The phone was banned from public transportations. And the same treatment was given to hoverboards. They’re not allowed in public places, can’t be boarded on planes, and can’t be transported via air.
Hoverboards seemed very promising a few years ago. They’re not totally gone. The item is still available in some stores, provided the items comply with government regulations. But the interest in hoverboards has plummeted. It’s probably for the best. The gadget’s reputation will be difficult to revive, given how it threatens human life.