Electric personal transporters are mostly horrible. Segways are reserved for mall cops and helmeted tourists interested in experiencing both the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial without taking a single step. Hoverboards, which also explode, are just fodder for America's Funniest Home Videos. Everyone I've ever seen riding one of those electric unicycles has nearly caused a car accident. These machines are strange status symbols of lazy American excess.
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If it's not made of gold, furniture recovered from the Titanic, or extraterrestrial materials salvaged from a meteor, you'll need one heck of a gimmick to convince people to spend $US30,000 ($41,116) on coffee table. And that's probably why Siren Design Studios made its Teles Taxídi table float like a hoverboard.
What do you do when you leave your successful battery case startup? If you're Daniel Huang, the guy that co-founded Mophie, you make ugly electric scooters.
Remember that hoverboard craze? The fun toys that were mostly manufactured in China were a huge pop cultural phenomenon. That is until they started exploding and catching on fire. These cheap-arse hoverboards, which usually ran from $200 to $500, had the fatal flaw of randomly bursting into flames due to really terrible quality control of their poorly manufactured batteries. So the hoverboards were banned pretty much everywhere. Subways, planes, coffee shops, you name it, the hoverboard was banned. "Don't bring your exploding human transportation device anywhere near my artisanal coffee shop," a store owner might say.
There were 670 product recalls in Australia last financial year, compared to 596 in the previous financial year. Some products you may have heard more about than others (hoverboards, anyone?), meaning there still might be some unsafe goods lying around the home. To make things a little easier, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has launched a new website where you can check for recalled products.
Other than being the "transportation of the future", hoverboards' most notable feature is their propensity for bursting into flames spontaneously. That's great if you're a pyro, and less great if you like avoiding third-degree burns. Now, a brick-and-mortar purveyor of these flame-prone scooties has succumbed to what most would assume was inevitable -- it caught fire.
After suing several hoverboard makers over patent violations last year, Segway, which is now owned by Chinese company Ninebot, revealed its own self-balancing scooter in January at CES. The hope, of course, is that the brand name (and accompanying expertise) means the new personal transporter won't explode while you're riding it. Five months later, the Segway MiniPro is finally available for pre-order for $US1000 ($1378).
Video: Is riding a hoverboard onto the edge of a roof of a skyscraper in Dubai idiotic? Absolutely. It is very easy to fall off and lose control on one of those things and if you creep too far off the edge, either you or the hoverboard or both would be sent flying down towards the ground way, way below. That's not a good look. So don't copy this guy. He's even spinning around.
Strict new standards were put into place, so strict that to date only one 'hoverboard' has met all of the safety certifications, becoming Australia's only fully compliant self-balancing board available through major retail stores.
You've probably seen Franky Zapata's water-powered Flyboards available to ride at fancy resorts. But his newest creation takes riders far above the surface of the water. Forget those two-wheeled death traps and the utterly disappointing Hendo. This is the closest thing we now have to a working hoverboard.
Video: In my head, we screwed it all up. Our reality is an alternate timeline because our hoverboards don't actually hover. There are people out there living in the real timeline where Back to the Future-style hoverboards actually do exist and do hover and are probably made in a factory that pumps 'em out like in this totally awesome animation.
Martha Stewart has always been on the bleeding edge of domestic tech disruption: Using drones to survey her vege gardens and 3D printers to squirt out funky custom napkin rings. Now she's employing hoverboards to efficiently zip around mansions, as one does.
I'm a hoverboard sceptic. I don't think that we're going to see a "true" hoverboard that can work on any surface anytime soon. With that being said, the new and improved Hendo Hoverboard, made by Arx Pax, looks pretty damn fun.
Eight weeks into 2016, and the list of hoverboards recalled in Australia for fear of injuring users -- or for fear of them catching on fire -- continues to grow. We're not going to write about every single recall, as fun as that would be, so let this post (yes, again) be a mark in the sand -- stop buying the damn things.