You’ve probably seen the hottest gadget this holiday season used in places, but wondered what it was, as people moved from place to place standing on what appeared to be a moving board while their feet did nothing.

Why, it’s almost like they’re hovering, except they’re not, so what on earth is this thing people call a “hoverboard”?

What is a hoverboard?

First of all we need to get this out of the way: a hoverboard is not actually a hoverboard.

Possibly because it was the 30th anniversary of “Back to the Future” and we still didn’t have a board that hovers that these gadgets were given this name, but the devices branded with this moniker are certainly not hovering.

kaiser-baas-revo-glider-2015-02

Rather, these are technically “self balancing electric scooters” or even “self balancing boards”, but because neither of these names are sexy, more people are referring to them as “hover boards”.

Let’s just get this out of the way: that’s a preposterous name. So-called hoverboards don’t hover, don’t fly, and about they’re not even technically boards.

Skywalkers offers up insight into what makes a "hoverboard" work.

Sky Walkers offers up insight into what makes a “hoverboard” work.

What they are is two rather thick platforms set out with sensors that pick up on the minute pressure movements exerted by the feet, with this technology connected to a battery and two wheels to allow you to move forwards, backwards, or turn slightly.

So they’re not hoverboards. Self-balancing boards, maybe, but certainly not hoverboards.

Still, we’re going to keep calling them that in this article because that is how they’re being marketed, so if you’re trying to find out about these things, here’s how you’ll do it.

Is it dangerous to use a hoverboard?

self-balancing-scooter-hoverboard-2015-02

Like any motorised piece of transport, it can be a little risky getting on a hoverboard, and that’s because this is a gadget that moves, and can move quickly.

In fact, any form of transport, even short haul transport, can be dangerous.

Bicycles can be dangerous. Skateboards can be dangerous. Hey, walking can be dangerous, too.