Reasons For the Ban on Hoverboards at GMU

Patriot Post | Heather Walton | March 28, 2016

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Patriots have been receiving e-mails and have seen fliers, from Housing and Residence Life department, regarding hoverboards.

In the e-mail the department has banned the use and storage of these nifty transportation devices on

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(CC BY 2.0)

campus. The reason being that these hoverboards have a tendency to “spontaneously catch fire.”

Now, unfortunately we’re not talking about the self levitating hoverboards from “Back To The Future Pt II,” but the the Segway-like skateboards that you see all over Vine and other social media. They have been one of the biggest and hottest toys of the year according to c-net. However, they have been referred to as “explosions waiting to happen” and has sparked an active national investigation by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (as reported in the email given to Patriots).

The reason for this is because of the device’s battery.

According to NPR, these devices are having difficulties with their lithium-ion batteries, which have a flammable electrolyte in them. Now, these batteries are actually quite common, they are present in smartphones, tablets and other such devices, so why isn’t everything we own trying to catch on fire.

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(BusinessInsider)

NPR interviewed Jay Whitacre, a Professor of Materials Science & Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, who explained that the batteries made for the hoverboards are more powerful than any of our other devices, and that the ones used for the hoverboards are of low quality, therefore making them more likely to com-bust.

Though the incidents have only been occurring since December, the number of incidents is staggering.

Several incidents include a hoverboard causing a house fire, some reports say that the board exploded “like a bomb” and there are reports of explosions while they are charging, and while they’re being ridden. For information on these incidents click here.

So, it is not surprising that Mason has banned the storage of these deathtraps in residence halls.

Who knows how long this ban will stay, and what companies will do to fix the lithium battery issue.