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An Argument for Hoverboards: An Interview with Ryan Stoll


An Argument for Hoverboards: An Interview with Ryan Stoll


Photo by: Nick Hurter

By: Nick Hurter

I got a chance to catch up with a fellow SU student, senior Ryan Stoll, about the recent banning of Hoverboards on the SU campus. Ryan is very knowledgable on the issue, and had some insightful and innovative ideas and opinions on the matter.

Nick: Why are you choosing to to focus my efforts on hoverboards specifically rather than other active causes?

Ryan: I recognise that it is a banal cause. In terms of all the causes that could be addressed or rallied behind on campus [such as] rape culture, misconduct by faculty, etc., hoverboards are pretty low down there. However, I am [raising awareness for the banning of hoverboards] because it is an extreme injustice to those who have hoverboards or want to have one.

N: Why are hoverboards a good method of transportation?

R: The great irony of this situation is that hoverboards are the ideal device for what southwestern is looking for. They are efficient and environmentally friendly. I can get pretty much anywhere in Georgetown relatively easily. Because there aren’t any biking trails and because there is very little except sidewalk area and streets in the Southwestern area, they act as ideal modes of transportation. I used to (before then ban), come back with groceries on my arm [on the hoverboard]. For relatively cheap, less of the cost of a laptop, you can have a device which is easy to carry [and is] generally safe.

N: Why is the school taking issue with this? Are they dangerous?

R: In an ideal world, or even in a slightly more egalitarian world… no, a more socially aware world, this wouldn’t be an issue at all. Hoverboards are not dangerous at all, there have been 12 cases out of the tens of millions sold that have exploded, and in those cases all twelve were purchased through illegal Chinese manufacturers.

N: How is this ban going to affect the general population of Southwestern?   

R: This ban is honestly not going to affect too much on the average individual. I totally get that hoverboards are always going to be a niche item. But in terms of the ridiculousness or the injustice done to those [who own hoverboards], it is pretty preposterous. The fact that they got banned is ridiculous because of the other options to deal with the situation while maintaining legal safety.

N: What do you feel could be alternatives to handling the situation?

R: I think that there is a public perception, a public fear [about Hoverboards]. Now that [Southwestern] has banned them, they have the ability to say that even if the risk of lawsuits are one in a million, it could financially cripple the school. I understand that. I get that this is a natural fear based response on the administration’s part. There are so many solutions to allow it. All electronic devices that come into the US are sold into the US stores by some means of certification. The government actually outsources to this company called the UL organisation which checks electronics and makes sure that they are up to US standards so that these incidents don’t occur. This is so hoverboards, computers, or cell phones don’t catch fire. I would say 99.99% of the cases of hoverboards that caught fire will not have some sort of U.S. certifiable protection. You can actually pull out the battery and see it has stamped on there UL approved to make sure it’s safe. That certification protects the school’s liability from lawsuits. You would simply register it with the police station, similar to a car, or similar to any other new experimental technology where they say it’s new so come by and make sure it has the UL and that it has a registered number to you so that we know 1. you are signing away any risk of liability on the school’s part and 2. we know that it is generally safe for other people to be around the device. I think that would clear up from a lawsuit perspective a lot of the fear surrounding hoverboards.