Surprise, surprise! If you buy cheap off-brand electronics from a shoddy factory in Asia, they may have poorly-designed lithium-ion batteries that can catch fire.
After nearly 60 airlines basically banned hoverboards overnight, college campuses are now jumping on the hoverboard hate bandwagon.
Over a dozen colleges have banned the two-wheel devices (that don’t actually hover), with the latest being Georgetown University.
In a letter to students today, Georgetown’s COO explained their rationale:
Based on these reported safety risks and as a precaution, do NOT bring hoverboards or self-balancing scooters to campus. Until the Consumer Product Safety Commission makes a determination on the safety of these devices, we are prohibiting their use or storage on our campus. We continue to encourage the proper use of other transportation means for daily life, including bicycles.
Now I want to make it clear that I find faux hoverboards pretty dumb and, while fun to ride, I make a fool of myself every time I ride one.
However, that being said, this new trend of banning hoverboards is an overreaction and shows that people don’t really understand how gadgets work.
Do these colleges know that hoverboards aren’t the only gadgets that can be made with faulty, cheap lithium-ion batteries, and other devices like cameras, phones, and laptops also occasionally blow up? If you want to ban off-brand hoverboards, why not just ban all off-brand electronics?
As of three weeks ago, the U.S Consumer Protection Safety Commission has discovered 12 cases of hoverboards catching fire. Considering millions of devices were sold this holiday season alone, 12 isn’t exactly an epidemic.
That being said, I understand that hoverboards with cheap lithium-ion batteries are bad, and that any risk of fire or explosion is serious stuff.
But, instead of causing FUD and banning them from your college campus (which, let’s be real, will probably lead to more students using them), why not be realistic and find a better solution to the problem, like actually helping your students figure out if their hoverboards are shoddy or legit?