The hoverboard craze has captured the imagination of everyone since its introduction in 2015. Love them or hate them, you can’t ignore hoverboards, or more accurately known as hands-free electronic self-balance scooters. They make for great gifts, and are loved equally by explorers, youngsters, and tech-lovers. There was massive hype generated about hoverboarding, since it was deemed as the future of personal transportation. The popularity of the hoverboard was taken to the next level when Hollywood celebrities like Kendall Jenner, Whiz Khalifa, and Justin Bieber started gliding at high-profile events, on streets, and at concerts on hoverboards.
There are different kinds of hoverboards available today in different shades and colors, with some even available in customized graffiti. There are different accessories available with them, which add more style to the hoverboard and protect them from damage.
What exactly is a hoverboard?
Whenever you think about hoverboards, the first thing that comes in your mind is a board that floats or hovers above the ground. The image that has been ingrained in our minds, whenever someone mentions a hoverboard is the one seen in movies like Back to The Future II. However, modern-day hoverboards are nothing like that, since it is a self-balancing board that comes with a platform that offers a sensation of flight.
These hoverboards can achieve speeds of around 10 mph, and will travel for 15 miles, once they have been fully charged. You should remember that these hoverboards don’t fly or levitate, but they are still lots of fun. They are simple to use, and all you need to is step on the hoverboard, and lean forward or backwards to make it move. You control the speed, turn, and other factors, by making small adjustments with your feet, torso, and legs.
The hoverboard have special microprocessors and pressure sensors, which gather information about the tilt of the board. Learning how to ride a hoverboard can be tricky, but most new models come with a training mode that allows users to get some practice first.
Canhoverboards levitate or hover?
One of the most important things you must know about hoverboards is that they aren’t designed to levitate or fly yet. There are newer models currently being manufactured that will have the ability to hover and float above the ground, but the current models have wheels. The most captivating part about hoverboards, even though they don’t hover is that they are fun to use and are electric powered, which gives them the edge over skateboards.
You can learn them easily, and have more fun learning new skills on the hoverboard. The design of the board may take you some time to get used to, since most have inline wheels, and a handlebar, which are different than the traditional self-balancing types. There are lots of different hoverboards in the market that are priced differently, even though most will look similar. Each manufacturer labels and markets their board under a different name, which may confuse regular people.
But where and how did the hoverboard originate?
This is where it gets a bit tricky, since there are lots of different stories about the original hoverboard, and who invented the first one. It is commonly believed that the very first hoverboard was seen at one of the largest Chinese manufacturing trade shows, the Canton Fair in August, 2014. Hangzhou Chic Intelligent Technology Company, presented their Smart S1 Self-Balancing Scooter that day, and it was a massive hit, as they managed to sell off the first batch at the exhibition.
There are other stories of other manufacturers in China that copied and reverse engineered the design of the first hoverboard. There are currently lots of different hoverboard manufacturers in the market, but most of them have similar looking designs, which might suggest that some stories were true. The leading hoverboard manufacturers in the market are the PhunkeeDuck, SmartGear, IO Moonwalkers, and the IO Hawk.
Are all hoverboards the same?
While looking at pictures of hoverboards, you may think that all hoverboards are the same, but in reality, each board is different than the other. There are cheaper knockoff models of the higher-end hoverboards being sold on the market as well. It is better to acquire a hoverboard from an established brand, rather than opt for a cheap knockoff model. This is because the expensive models have been put through stringent quality control, and are generally worth the money.
Another factor to consider when talking about hoverboards is whether you are getting warranty from the manufacturer. This is an important factor to consider, since there have been reports of hoverboards not working properly or failing entirely after a couple of months of use. So, even if you are getting a cheap deal on a knockoff hoverboard model, it is better to buy the more expensive one, since it guarantees you superior quality and more fun.
Is it worth paying for an expensive hoverboard?
Any hoverboard that is priced more than $1,200 is not going to be a fair deal for you, because it is likely that your kids or you get bored of it within a couple of months. Therefore, it is not worth spending thousands of dollars on a hoverboard that you aren’t going to be using for a long time. When buying an expensive hoverboard, it is best that you buy from established big name brands, like SwagWay, NineBot, IO Hawk, Hovertax, Razor, and PhunkeeDunk.
You should also note that in some places, there is currently a ban on riding hands-free scooters, and hoverboards in public. So, make sure that the area where you live doesn’t have any restrictions or laws about riding hoverboards on private property, the sidewalks, or on the street. The laws and bans on riding hoverboards in public came out, when there were cases of exploding boards. The situation was so bad that it called for a complete ban on hoverboards altogether, but now new measures, like the UL2272 certification have been applied, and they are completely safe for use.
UL2272 Certified safe hoverboards
The earlier hoverboards, which were released in 2015 had gotten a bad reputation, since they were catching fire while charging or exploding when being ridden. The United States government took action against hoverboard manufacturers, and introduced a new safety certification they must pass before marketing their boards on the market. Most online retailers took off hoverboards from their website completely, and issued warnings that the chargers and batteries weren’t safe.
The UL2272 safety certification is the gold standard that all hoverboard manufacturers must aspire to attain for their hoverboards. Swagtron was the first hoverboard brand to get this certification, which implies that the board is safe and completely free from issues like exploding or catching fire.
Are hoverboards legal in NYC and other cities in the US?
The Swegway, a self-balancing hoverboard has been voted as the best electric scooter gadgets of the century, and is a must-have personal transport for everyone. However, there are still bans on riding hoverboards in NYC and other cities in the United States. If you choose to buy a hoverboard, you must first check the laws in your State regarding hoverboard riding. The laws are different in each state, and there are still lots of gray areas about hoverboards, due to the negativity and bad press these boards got in the past few years.
Nowadays, hoverboards are completely safe to ride, but it seems that the laws haven’t been updated in many places that still don’t want people riding on these self-balancing scooters.
NYC and California have opposing views
The States of New York City and California have vastly different views and laws about riding hoverboards. In New York City, you aren’t allowed to ride your self-balancing hoverboard in public, but in California you can ride it in public, if you stick to cycle ways and don’t get in pedestrian-only areas. The NYPD has taken a strict stance against public use of hoverboards, and have issued fines of up to $200, and warnings to people riding hoverboards in public.
The self-balancing scooter and Segway has been categorized as an unregistered motor vehicle in New York City, and therefore you must $200 penalty if seen riding one in public. California on the other hand has been more open to riding hoverboards in public, and has allowed people to ride hoverboards in the pathways and cycle lanes. Lawmakers in California see hoverboards as a great way to ease heavy traffic congestion in the city.
Laws can vary by local municipality
Even though the state has a lenient stance on riding hoverboards in public, the local municipalities in California have their own laws. There have been stories of kids using hoverboards around malls, or using them as a personal transportation mode when going to school.
Every place has their own laws regarding hoverboard use, and there have been cases of some malls banning hoverboards as well. Some college campuses and schools have also banned riding hoverboards or self-balancing scooters on their premises, out of concern for the kids.
Riding a hoverboard in the mall
You may be wondering whether it is safe to ride a hoverboard in the mall, and that depends on the individual mall. Every mall has their own rules, like every school and other public buildings do, about what people can do on their property premises. The problem arises due to the negative press of hoverboards and self-balancing scooters, so malls may ban them to protect themselves from insurance liability. Moving around on hoverboards can be tricky, and even the most experienced rider can accidently trip and fall.
There have been cases of hoverboard riders losing their balance and falling, and malls don’t want to be sued by hoverboard riders if someone falls and injures themselves. That is the main concern for malls, and precisely why they choose to ban hoverboard riding on their premises. So, if you want to ride your hoverboard or self-balancing scooter in a mall it is best to first check whether the mall has any laws related to hoverboard riding.
Even with so many laws banning riding hoverboards in public, it has still not diminished the popularity of this gadget. Estimated numbers show that hoverboards and electric self-balancing scooters were among the most popular gift items bought this Christmas. The reason for that is that adults and children alike are amused by the hoverboards, since they are not only fun, and adventurous, but a very convenient personal transportation device as well.
How does a hoverboard work?
Now that we have got all the technicalities regarding what are hoverboards and the laws pertaining to them around the country out of the way, we can talk about how they work. The technology behind hoverboards or electric self-balancing scooters is fascinating and cutting-edge. The two-wheeled platform manages to balance and counter-balance the weight of an individual, while maintaining speed.
New models of hoverboards even come with Bluetooth technology, and contain special motion detectors that move the board in the direction you want. The smooth hands-free motion of hoverboards has captured the imagination of everyone, and has gotten the label of being the future of self-transportation. When talking about hoverboards and how they work, you must keep in mind that all hoverboards have the same basic components. The difference is in the quality, which is based on specific models and brands. Here is how hoverboards work:
The wheels of the hoverboard will have speed and tilt sensors, and electric motors. The motor will detect the RPM of every wheel, and will transfer this information to the speed control boards and gyroscope, which are placed next to the wheels in the mainframe.
· Platform with gyroscope and speed control boards:
When the speed control boards and gyroscope receive the RPM and tilt information from the sensors in the wheels, they will forward this data to the main logic board.
· Logic board:
The brain of the hoverboard is known as the logic board. It is a processor that will be computing data in real time, including the tilt and speed of each wheel, the speed at which the board is traveling, and the status of the board.
Most hoverboards will have the standard 36V 4400mAH battery packs, which ensures you can ride your board for long periods without charging.
The gyroscope of the hoverboard will receive data from the tilt sensors, and will forward that to the logic board, which will balance the hoverboard. The footpads on the hoverboard have switches installed underneath, which trigger an infrared LED light that will trigger other sensors.
When you place your feet on the hoverboard, the lights will turn on, which will transfer data to the logic board that it doesn’t need to run the motors. Once you position yourself by leaning backwards or forward, the switch will turn off the LED light, and the sensor will alert the logic board that it should run the motors to move the hoverboard forward or backwards.
The motors on the wheels of the hoverboard re independent from one another, so the wheels can move in opposite directions. This allows the riders to move in circles and pull off tricks when using their hoverboards. The board will run on a straight line, until the sensor notices the LED light. When the switch is pushed by shifting the bodyweight, the light will get interrupted.
So, if you turn left, and your foot turns on the front right switch, it will spin the wheel forward, and you can use your left foot to turn on the left back switch, to spin the left wheel backwards. You can make the motors spin faster by leaning forwards, and leaning backwards will help you stop the hoverboard.
Are hoverboards dangerous?
Even though hoverboards have risen in popularity, there are still lots of people that are hesitant about purchasing one. This is all down to the previous negative cases of exploding hoverboards, which were catching fire, and injuring lots of people. There were cases of overheating and exploding hoverboards, which completely destroyed the credibility of this amazing product.
There are still lots of cheap knockoff hoverboard models being sold on the market, which don’t meet the latest safety standards. You should be wary of purchasing them, since they may still be prone to catching fire. The reason previous models of hoverboards were catching fire was because the battery was poorly positioned, and didn’t have proper insulation. Nowadays, the manufacturers have corrected their errors, and have met the current safety certifications placed by the government on hoverboards.
Hoverboards have lithium batteries, which are placed on the opposite side of the logic board, to reduce overheating chances. Hoverboards used to have a lot of issues in the early days, which is why they were banned within cities on sidewalks and roads for safety reasons. Recently, there have been no cases of hoverboards exploding to catching fire, and public demand has increased.
However, there are still cities around the world where hoverboard use is still banded. When buying a hoverboard, you should check the local laws in your area, so that you have complete information about riding a hoverboard in public. You should also invest in the appropriate safety gear when riding on your hoverboard, so that you don’t have any trouble with the law.
Precautions to take while buying and using a hoverboard
Even though modern-day hoverboards are completely safe to use, there are still some precautions that you must know before using them. Here are the top 10 precautions you should take when you buy or use a hoverboard:
- Don’t buy a heavy hoverboard, so you can carry it with you.
- Avoid going on steep slopes with your hoverboard.
- Check all local laws for hoverboard use to avoid paying penalties.
- Hoverboards are meant to be used by people aged 12 and over
- Children below 12 shouldn’t be riding on hoverboards
- Make sure you purchase hoverboards from an established manufacturer
- Hoverboards aren’t allowed on most major airlines.
- Don’t purchase cheap knock-off hoverboard models.
- Always buy a hoverboard that comes with manufacturer’s warrant
- Beware of knock-offs that imitate major brands
What is the future of hoverboards?
The current models of hoverboards that are available in the market, can’t fly and don’t hover above the ground. That is a major shortcoming for most people, since a sensitive suspension and small-wheels doesn’t run well on rough terrain. Pebbles, uneven sidewalks, and small cracks in the pavement can obstruct your hoverboard when riding. If you plan on enjoying a smooth ride on your hoverboard, you must choose a smooth surface to run it on.
The hoverboard of the future are going to be very different, and most manufacturers are focusing on creating boards that can hover and fly. That is exciting news for fans of hoverboards, and future boards are also expected to withstand shocks with stronger suspensions and sensors that will stabilize the board constantly. That will improve the safety and riding experience of the rider, while a stationary axis is also expected to be added to counter uneven acceleration.
The issue with the battery system is also expected to be resolved in future models, with no chance of it overheating. Hoverboard manufacturers are taking giant steps to improve the safety of the riders, and enhance the riding experience of hoverboards in the future.
Are hoverboards right for you?
There can be no denying that hoverboards are the future of personal transportation and there are even plans set in motion to create paths for hoverboards. They are the coolest gadgets in the 20th century, and with demand at an all-time high, it might be the best time to buy a hoverboard. This gadget has come a long way in a short time, and with room for further improvement the future is exciting for it.
If you love adventure, being outdoors, 80s movie references, and cool gadgets, then you should buy a hoverboard. It will be your ideal companion, because hoverboards not only make you look cool, but you also have loads of fun riding them.