The Controversy with Hoverboards

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The Controversy with Hoverboards

Michael Bakshandeh, Technology Editor

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We’ve all heard of these fantastic little contraptions. They are the newest, must-have-item of the century: hoverboards. “Hoverboards,” however, is a misnomer: in reality, they should be called “self-balancing scooters” because they don’t ACTUALLY levitate. Who wants to say “self-balancing scooters,” though? For that reason, the term “hoverboard” has become increasingly popular. The most important function of a self-balancing scooter is to remain upright. To do this, these scooters have gyroscopes that help gather information about the tilt of the board. Motors inside the board charge the power to keep the rider balanced. Every self-balancing scooter operates slightly differently, but the general function is the same.

What made these scooters so popular? The answer to this question is celebrities. Many celebrities have been spotted riding these motorized scooters in public and at home. The event that arguably solidified the impact of the hoverboard on American culture was the arrest of Wiz Khalifa. (He was arrested because hoverboards can’t be taken on planes and he refused to listen to the police). At this point, all the little children in the United States begged their parents to get them these scooters.

The issue is that these scooters are far from safe. Recently, rumors have been spreading that these hoverboards occasionally explode. Well, these rumors are true! In most cases, a hoverboard explodes because it comes equipped with a faulty battery. As expected, the low-priced versions of hoverboards are much more likely to explode than the higher end versions. Buzzfeed News recently reported on the factories in China that quickly jumped on this consumer trend without much quality control. Many of these Chinese factories are shipping out defective hoverboards in order to maximize productivity and profits. While this benefits the factories, these products are also a risk for the user.

It’s not like these situations haven’t happened. Almost all consumer electronics, from smartphones to electric cars, have had numerous reports of battery explosions. In the case of larger vehicles like hoverboards, the batteries are very large and the resulting explosion can be extremely lethal.

While it may appear that the sole purpose of this article is to bash hoverboards, the purpose is actually to provide a warning. For the time being, it is probably best if consumers stay away from all hoverboards because they can be dangerous. However, this Back to the Future spinoff is sure to have its triumph some day in the future, when it is safe to use.

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