For centuries, man has wondered about and has pursued the art of flying. People of all ages look up at the sky, and ask, “What if I could fly?” Well, for all the dreamy aspirants, technology has brought us one step closer to taking off the ground.
Last year’s holiday season ushered in another item at the top of many kids’ wish list: the hoverboard. The two-wheeled scooter was a huge hit in the last fiscal year. During the holiday season, one was sold every 12 seconds, according to CNBC. Jin Kim, a freshman at La Canada High School (LCHS), told JSR, “I recently bought a hoverboard, even though it was expensive. My brother got one too, as a Christmas present.” But who popularized the hoverboard? Celebrities may be responsible for influencing youth.
Wiz Khalifa, the North-Dakota-based rapper, made news by posting a tweet containing explicit language about how everyone ought to stop hating on the new gadget. He posted this after being slammed to the ground by airport security at the Los Angeles International Airport. The hoverboard was also put on display during the NBA finals by the Cleveland Cavaliers’ J.R. Smith, who rode it throughout Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena before and after games.
However, for some people, there is a higher price, beyond what’s on the price tag. The hoverboard is the next big thing, but it could also be the next big explosion. The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that Hoverboards have caused 52 fires in February alone, resulting in over $2 million in property damage. Families have lost homes because of the volatile lithium-ion batteries that power these devices. Theo Chamberlain, a junior at LCHS, stated “I get that these hoverboards are pretty cool. But it’s really not worth the cost.”
A few large cities like New York City have already imposed restrictions or bans on riding hoverboards on sidewalks or streets. With the current dangerous state, the bans appear wise. But in most cities, hoverboards remain legal for use by kids and adults alike. Only time will tell whether the federal government or hoverboard manufacturers will make a move first. But until then, anyone that is considering one should be cognizant of the hazards.
Still, consumers continue to blindly empty shelves of hoverboards in stores, despite safety concerns and high prices. From children to wary adults, anyone can feel cool (and brave) while riding one of these fancy devices.