Back to the Future made everyone think about the future of travel. From time-traveling DeLoreans to the hoverboard, everybody wants to travel differently nowadays. Hoverboards captured the imagination of a generation and now is closer to reality than ever before. Companies such as Lexus are trying to pioneer true hoverboard technology while others are releasing “hoverboards” on wheels. Let’s look at this technology, the issues behind it, and what you need to know to float above the floor.

What Are Hoverboards?

Hoverboards are a type of fictional levitation device, as depicted in a variety of movies and novels. The Back to the Future trilogy is what set off the obsessions with hoverboards and 2015 saw a version of the technology finally released into consumer’s hands. The hoverboard you see advertised at department stores and online just isn’t what a true hoverboard is. That technology doesn’t exist, yet.

A hoverboard in modern terms is a two-wheeled device that allows you to use your body’s motions to propel forward, turn, spin, and stop. These devices are battery-operated, which has led to controversy as they can overheat and explode while in use or in storage.

Most hoverboards available to consumers are similar in size, shape, and even colors. There are few companies doing anything innovative with the technology. Even at CES this year, a hoverboard vendor was arrested for selling hoverboards from a competitor and claiming the technology as their own.

The technology just isn’t going where those captured by the imagination of it all thought it would be going by now. While big name companies, such as Lexus, are looking into the tech behind true hoverboard technology, for the time being we’re years, maybe even decades away, from true hover technology in the hands of consumers.

Are Hoverboards Safe?

It depends on who you ask. Many retailers, including Amazon, have banned selling them due to issues with batteries. Airlines have banned them from being in baggage. There are YouTube videos and news stories across the globe of issues with the basic hoverboard technology, especially the battery. For now, it’s definitely buyer beware when it comes to hoverboards.

Should You Buy a Hoverboard?

When weighing the pros and cons of hoverboards on the market now, I think this is a fad that’s going go away quickly. At least with the issues they currently have and how uninspiring the actual tech is. If you’re looking for a cool gift to get someone, a hoverboard could excite them for a while so long as they’re aware of the risks and use it properly.

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Melissa Popp is Director of Digital Engagement for Altitude SEO, a boutique agency helping small businesses win with content online. As a digital strategist with a passion for technology and travel, she coaches her partners to connect with their audience through experience optimization, with the goal of retaining more loyal visitors, creating brand ambassadors, and increasing conversion goals. She can be found online writing for About Travel, TechNorms, and The Emmys. Past clients include Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, and Samsung.