Are you reading this on a smartphone, tablet or laptop? Yes? Cool. That glowing misery rectangle has the capacity to explode the same way Milwaukee woman Dina Mitchell’s Fitbit Flex 2 did last week. Any lithium-based rechargeable battery can. It’s just extremely unlikely.
Image: ABC News
The shoddy manufacturing practices around “hoverboards/” and vapes made exploding batteries known to consumers, and Samsung’s disastrous Note7 debacle cemented flaming lithium-ion cells in the popular consciousness. But Mitchell’s case is a grim reminder that oh right — wearables.
No surprise then that a gadget designed to be attached to your body does some pretty gruesome things to said body when it goes out in a blaze of glory. Not only did Mitchell sustain second-degree burns, but according to the Associated Press blurb, her physician at Aurora Health Care had to “pick pieces of plastic out of her wound”.
So should we all run screaming from Snapchat’s Spectacles for fear they will one day render us maimed or blind? Jokes aside, most of the publicised battery fiascos of the last few years were the result of shoddy design. Any battery can explode, but almost none ever do. And to the best of our knowledge, nothing like this has happened with a commercial Fitbit product so far.
Fitbit sent Gizmodo the statement they sent to just about everyone, which claims:
We have spoken with Ms. Mitchell and are actively investigating this issue. We are not aware of any other complaints of this nature and see no reason for people to stop wearing their Flex 2. We will share additional information as we are able.
We were unable to reach Mitchell and reached out to Aurora for a statement on her condition, but had not heard back at time of writing.