Hoverboards: Expectations vs. Reality

Joseph Beaird, Staff Writer

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What is a hoverboard? Ever since 1989, when the movie Back to the Future 2 was released in theaters, people have been wanting these “magical” floating skateboards. Everyone anxiously waited for October 21, 2015, the day Doc and Marty traveled into the future and saw hoverboards. That date has passed, but there are still no hoverboards – or are there?

In the summer of last year, there was a new creation that took social media and pop culture by storm, a new vehicle of transport that went by many names. Whether you call it a swagway, monorover, or a UGO board, many people recognize it as a “hoverboard.”

These hoverboards are two-wheeled segways that you steer by just leaning forward. Popularized by celebrities and Vine stars, everyone was dying to get their hands on this new method of transportation.

Sadly, these modern hoverboards do not come close to the greatness of Back to the Future. We wanted floating, physics-defying skateboards, yet all we received was heavy self-steering segways that explode when they are charged for too long. One issue with hoverboards is that they catch fire when the battery is stressed out.

The limitations to these boards are much greater as well. Back to the Future’s hoverboard has only one limitation: not being able to ride on water. Our current hoverboards struggle to exceed 10 miles per hour, and they are even harder to balance on than skateboards.

Since this overrated gift has become extremely popular, many reckless teens have been dying to get their hands on one. Because of their lack of responsibility, California has had to make strict laws against hoverboards. For example, you must be 16 years old and wear a helmet in order to use the boards. The state of California even had to clarify that you may not use a hoverboard in streets where the speed limit is above 35 miles hour.

This new invention is also causing an epidemic of laziness. People begin to lose the will to walk on their feet and cling to their two-wheeled vehicles in all aspects of life.

Currently, we have no hoverboards that can compare to those of Back to the Future.  Yet there has been limited progress. The car company Lexus is determined to create the impossible with their own version of a hoverboard.

Their board named Slide is fully functional only when it has a sheet of metal under it. The levitation effect is created by supercoiled superconductors powered by liquid nitrogen. Unfortunately, the experience is very short lived. The liquid nitrogen must be refilled every 10 minutes. Not only that, but the only place that it was able to be used at was customized skate park in Spain.

Although we don’t have fully functionally hoverboards, we have made considerable progress. Swagways aside, it is very likely we could be floating everywhere we go by 2020. At this rate, we’ll have flying cars by 2030.

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