Anyone who grew up in the 80s probably fantasized about Back to the Future-style hoverboards. Indeed, these elusive flying skateboards seemed like the ultimate teenage boy entertainment. “In 2015!” you might have said. “I am SO getting one of those in 2015.”
Well, 2015 has come and gone. While there aren’t flying skateboards like the ones depicted in the movie, a toy called a hoverboard – which looks really futuristic- has hit the market. It hit with a smash. It seemed as if everyone was snatching up these fantastic toys that are similar the ones we’ve been hoping would come along ever since Michael J. Fox traveled to 2015.
Well, what are the real hoverboards that are on the market, if they don’t fly? A hoverboard is a self-balancing two-wheeled portable board that runs on rechargeable batteries. Typically, it consists of two wheels arranged side-by-side, with two small platforms between the wheels. The rider stands on the platforms and controls the board with his or her feet, standing on built-in gyroscopic, sensored pads. Various companies distribute the product, so it there isn’t one universal name for the contraption.
Will it fly in the future? “An editor of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) commented on the September 2015 inclusion of ‘hoverboard’ in the OED: … ‘ rely on the repelling power of intense magnetic fields —generated by superconducting magnets cooled by liquid nitrogen—acting on a special magnetized track. out the possibility that we’ll all be zooming around towns and cities on them anytime soon.” So, no, it doesn’t sound like it.
Safe enough, then, right? If it doesn’t actually fly, time to get one for your kid! Not necessarily. In fact, there have been numerous reports of hoverboards going horribly wrong.
Pamela Levine of Boca Raton reported her 11-year-old daughter was riding her hoverboard when she felt heat emanating beneath her feet. Her daughter hopped off the hoverboard right away, and saw flames coming from the device. They were able to put out the flames by dousing the hoverboard with water.
Another user in Alabama witnessed a battery shoot out of the device. A user in New Orleans also reported an exploding hoverboard.
Across the pond, in the U.K., 15,000 hoverboards were seized after an inspection revealed the devices were unsafe. Multiple reports of fires and explosions associated with hoverboards were reported there as well.
People are also falling off the boards and injuring themselves. Many are requiring hospital treatment.
Enough incidents have occurred involving the hoverboards to have attracted the attention of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The CPSC is concerned: they issued a warning about the products in December. A spokesperson for the agency stated that they are also monitoring injuries and investigating each new fire incident, and are testing various hoverboards at their own lab.
The agency, for now, issued a number of recommendations for hoverboard customers, “including tips for charging, where to buy one, and to wear safety gear like a helmet and wrist guards when riding.”
While the idea of hoverboards is very fun and appealing, especially for those who came of age in the 1980s, the current hoverboards on the market may be more trouble than they are worth. If you choose to buy one – or already have one – please take heed of the CSPC’s recommendations. Stay safe, and keep updated on any potential recall information or updated safety information.
If you have been injured due to a defective product, don’t delay: call the skilled attorneys at Brooks Law Group today. We can determine whether you are entitled to any compensation.