Google "hoverboard fail" and you'll get more than 3.7 million results, perhaps best encapsulated by the headline "Hoverboard wipeouts are the Christmas gift that keeps on giving." Or this report on hoverboard wipeouts. Or perhaps today's news from Lacey Township, New Jersey, where a[nother] charging hoverboard spontaneously combusted.
It's an awful lot of trouble for a device that — quite obviously — doesn't hover, a semantic distinction noted by no less an authority on such matters than the Oxford English Dictionary, which noted that the trademark on "hoverboard" belongs to a maker of a "miniature, Segway-style, two-wheeled vehicle which stays firmly on the ground."
What's it all mean? That we're going to have to come up for a new word for a legitimately amazing, legitimately hovering piece of technology developed by Dumitru Popescu of ARCA Space Corporation, the firm he founded in his native Romania and relocated, last year, to Las Cruces, New Mexico.
Popescu's version is powered — and held aloft — by 36 power fans, which cool down a system capable of generating 272 horsepower. You won't get more than six minutes of flight time out of this iteration, but it does what it promises. It hovers. And we're betting you can charge it without setting fire to your house, too.
Check out the video; it's incredible.
Standard charging time is six hours, but an upgraded docking system cuts that down to 35 minutes.
Downside: $19,000 price tag (plus another $4,500 for the faster charger). Upside: Hovering. You make the call.