The 80s are making a real comeback lately. And when we all did our annual marathon of Back to the Future a few years ago, the world split in half: those who wanted Marty’s shoes and those who wished to ride a wheelless hoverboard. Now, Nike wittingly rode the wave and: in 2011, they released the first Nike Mag edition, a limited replica of Marty’s self-fastening shoes. Yet, technology suckers will have to hold their horses a bit longer to see a wheelless hoverboard come to life. Efforts are being made – like this sort of marketing stunt that Lexus pulled in 2015 -, but the road is long.
Nevertheless, in the last decade inventors have been working on what we could consider as the prequel to the longed floating board. Self-balancing scooter, or wheeled hoverboards are very much real and established by now. And while they don’t defy gravity, they still give their riders a pretty cool and cutting-edge vibe.
What is it all about?
In all fairness, it didn’t start well. In 2015, hoverboards were potentially deadly – simply perfect if you wanted to see your mother-in-law catching fire on two wheels. But after a few accidents with overheating lithium-ion batteries, investigators started to think that self-exploding devices could possibly be an issue. Today, hoverboards are safer than ever – and while not inflammable, you could still use them to make your mother-in-law dramatically slip. They’re not dangerous, as long as you take your time to learn how to ride them. You need to get accustomed to the sensor pad which controls the speed and direction, so it’s basically a boss-level version of a skateboard. But they are way cuter than those giant, horrible Segway that overtook our roads back in the days. And if your body control is better than mine – and trust me, it is -, then it’s safe to assume you’re not going to kill yourself with it.
A green way to commute
Today, all hoverboards on the market have to come with the UL 2272 certification slapped on them, which ensures they’re safe to buy and use. Their rechargeable battery can last up to 4 hours depending on the model, granting you many back and forth trips. Tons of people still tend to use their cars even for short trips, which is just detrimental to the environment. Now comes the part where I scold you for being too lazy, and prompt you to move that booty for once. But let’s face it: it’s winter, it’s cold, and we’re on average very disappointing beings. So if I can’t lure you with good old-fashioned bikes, I can still shoot my shot with hoverboards. They’re cool, they’re fun and they make you look like you know your place in the world. Which is truly what we all long for in life. Some of these eco-friendly vehicles feature Bluetooth, in case you want to enjoy some music on your ride, or specific apps to control the lights. If you live in the city center, it’s a much better option than a car when it comes to frequent, short trips.
A relevant trend?
When they first came out, celebrities went crazy over hoverboards and transformed the whole thing into a trend. Today, hoverboards are much more common and affordable than a few years ago, and when Christmas comes, they’re still a hit. Being zero gas emissions, and a fun tool to show off, hoverboards remain a relevant trend, and something that might undergo further development in the future. But I’ll leave you with a couple of tips that I want you to thoroughly write on your hoverboard bible. First, get safety gear when you buy one. There’s way too many hoverboards fail compilations on youtube already, and I don’t want to lead you on the way to brain injury. And lastly, if it’s nothing but a mere toy that you’d abandon in your closet after a while, if it doesn’t really add anything to your commuting routine, then trust me, you can go without it. Because even an eco-friendly purchase, when unnecessary, becomes additional waste.
Giada graduated with a degree in Cultural and Linguistic Mediation (Unipd) and obtained a MA in Media Studies (Leiden University). She works as a freelance copywriter and translator, and as a content creator for a platform on digital nomadism. She’s worked for Inditex and other similar brands for several years, witnessing the cruel reality of fast fashion on a daily basis – something that motivated her to participate in Atmosphera lab.