by: Jessica Buettner
At the beginning of the semester, Benedictine University’s campus police sent out an e-mail to all students and faculty members stating that the university is now prohibiting the usage, possession, or storage of electronic hover boards on university property. This policy is in effect until safety standards by the United States Product Safety Commission for the devices are adequately developed and implanted.
“Many fires have been occurring indoors and could result in serious injuries if the fire isn’t extinguished immediately by the consumers,” the agency reports. The chairman of the commission, Elliot F. Kaye, writes that many fall injuries have been reported as well.
“Fall injuries can be serious and life-altering,” stated Kaye in his public statement. “Many people have ended up with fractures, contusions or head/brain injuries. Wearing proper safety gear in the instance of using a hover board should be non-negotiable.”
The new policy has become official ever since the awareness of the hidden dangers behind these hover boards. There have been numerous reports on the news about the number of fires that have been affiliated with hover boards.
According to Jay Whitacre, a researcher in the Materials Science and Engineering Program at Carnegie Mellon University, the problem resides within the quality of the lithium-ion batteries that are used in the devices. Cheaply made lithium-ion batteries assembled with sub-standard materials are already dangerous when used in products like smart phones and computers. It is an extremely dangerous and unethical idea to put these batteries in high-impact sports toys.
The issues have become so severe, that Amazon is now offering full refunds for customers who have purchased hover boards from their site. U.K. border officials stopped more than 15,000 hover boards from entering Britain, according to the National Trading Standards Board. Some of the companies that created the hover boards have announced that they will not be restocking the products until they are certain that the industry has eliminated any safety risks posed by batteries, chargers or other components.
“There are a lot of factories in China that now make Li-ion batteries,” stated Whitacre in a public statement. “The reality is that the quality and consistency of the batteries is typically not as good as what is found in top tier producers such as LG or Samsung.”
The nature of the hover board makes the battery susceptible to damage when it knocks into things at high speeds or becomes abused by the users. Regardless of how much one may be paying to buy a hover board, it’s almost impossible to tell what kind of fire hazards may be lurking inside.
So, if you were planning on bringing your hover board onto campus, you’d better think twice. The policy of hover boards is fully stated in the email that Chief Salatino sent out. If there are any questions regarding the new policy, please contact campus police.