The term "hoverboard" has been applied pretty liberally in recent years, most notably in its attachment to a device that's basically a Segway with no handles, as pictured above. That's not to say real hoverboards don't exist — Lexus has developed one and Tony Hawk himself has tested out a board that truly floats about the ground. These just aren't widely accessible, at least not yet. The Arcaboard may start changing that, but it's not what most people would consider affordable.
What is affordable are the "hoverboards" with two wheels that a number of different manufacturers have been selling like crazy in the last year or two. They allow riders to step on and jet around on two wheels as if they're gliding. However, many of these models may have been rushed to market, because they're causing an alarming number of fires. That's why Amazon is offering full refunds on hoverboards, which are currently under investigation by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
The organization has investigated 40 incidents involving a fire or explosion connected to a hoverboard so far. Apparently, the lithium-ion batteries used to power the devices are particularly flammable. CPSC chairman Elliot Kaye said in a statement he expects "responsible large-volume online sellers in particular to stop selling these products until we have more certainty regarding their safety."
So if you bought your kid (or yourself) a hoverboard over the holidays, you might want to take Amazon up on its offer. Or at least watch that thing while it's charging.
Cover image: Ben Larcey via Flickr