Tech Report

By: Nick Gambino

Self-balancing scooters or what some are dubbing “hoverboards” have been made legal in the state of California.

Before I get into their legalization let me first clear up a gross error some are making in calling these things hoverboards. First, these self-balancing scooters don’t hover. Second, it’s not even a board. We might as well call them “peanut fountains” because that makes just as much sense.

The hoverboard, which has not been mass produced to date, was first conceptualized in Back to the Future II. It’s basically a skateboard without wheels that hovers a few inches off the ground. This self-balancing scooter on the hand, is on wheels. It’s kind of a cross between a ripstick and a Segway.

Anyway, the self-balancing scooter came to prominence when shots of various celebrities like Justin Bieber riding around on these appeared online. Most famously Wiz Khalifa was arrested while riding one at LAX airport. He ranted on Twitter afterwards that kids would be riding hoverboards soon, hence why these things probably started being called hoverboards.

California just passed a law that allows electric skateboards and any other motorized wheeled device to be used anywhere bikes are allowed, meaning in public areas. This reverses earlier legislation which banned the scooters. The law will take effect on January 1st 2016.

The law, titled AB 604, defines these and any other device as “electrically motorized boards.” To be classified as that they need to be no larger than 60 x 18 inches and go no faster than 20 mph. Riders will be required to wear a helmet and can’t operate them while under the influence.

Meanwhile back in the nerd cave the great folks over at Arx Pax are still working on the real hoverboard (Hendo) inspired by Back to the Future II and endorsed by Bob Gale, writer of the original series. By the way Bob Gale is also unimpressed with these scooters being called hoverboards.

October 21st marks the date that Marty McFly arrived in the future in the second movie. That date has been titled Back to the Future Day. Arx Pax has announced that they will reveal a brand new hoverboard in recognition of that special day.

As a self-proclaimed BTFF geek I’m incredibly excited at the prospect of a real-world hoverboard available to purchase. All I want for Back to the Future Day is my very own hoverboard and self-drying jacket and self lacing sneakers and…


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