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Restart Radio: Hoverboards and throw-away toys for ‘big kids’

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When we grow up, we buy things for sensible reasons, and don’t lose get bored or lose interest with our ‘toys’… or so the story goes. But recent fads for personal mobility devices would suggest otherwise.

This week, Ugo is joined by Restart volunteer and IT team leader Dave Lukes, and our new Community Lead Jon Stricklin-Coutinho to take a look at some of these toys for big kids: the hoverboard, or the so-called two wheeled ‘unicycle’.

In the holiday season of 2015, the hoverboard looked as though it was going to be the ‘next big thing’. But as we see time and time again, the race-to-the-bottom that happens with the cost of such gadgets does not lead to the most durable or the most useful equipment.

The hoverboard met many hurdles during its brief period of fame. There are very few places it can be used legally. And when you do manage to get it on the road, you face the prospect of potentially explosive lithium ion batteries.

The usefulness of devices like the hoverboard is highly questionable, and relatively low prices mean that for some, it is a potential impulse buy. This potentially means a lot of new electronic material ending up in landfill.

So where does the hype come from? These kinds of devices seem to appeal to an inner childhood self, with the promise of novelty and fun. But when your toy requires very little skill and almost no physical exertion, it very quickly becomes a bore.

Of course, we cannot dismiss all personal mobility devices as useless. We take a look at some of the more useful potential applications of the technology used by the hoverboard, as well as some alternatives, like the electrically-assisted bicycle. As with most technology, everything depends on how we use it.

Links to things we discussed:

[Feature Image by Surrey County Council News]

One response

  1. Re charities using VR, the National Autistic Society made a ‘360 degree virtual reality version’ of their Too Much Information short video. They use cardboard goggles to show it on street stalls. If you have the right phones and the cardboard holder, you can find the video and more info at

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