Aussie firm jumps on hoverboard fire problem

A new Australian-designed innovation is demonstrating the benefits of adapting existing products and technologies to open up new market opportunities.

A new Australian-designed innovation is demonstrating the benefits of adapting existing products and technologies to open up new market opportunities.

Hoverboards have become an increasingly attractive toy particularly among tech-savvy professionals. However they have made headlines for the wrong reasons recently owing to reports that faulty lithium batteries are causing house fires, such as the one that reportedly destroyed a home in Victoria earlier this year.

That led James Stewart, director of Melbourne design company Homescreen Media, to design the Hovervault, which is a custom-made cover from fire-resistant materials to combat this problem.

“Having a background in the UAV [unmanned aerial vehicle] community, I was made aware at a very early stage that the lithium polymer (Lipo) batteries used in the UAVs had the potential to catch fire or explode if not handled with respect,” Mr Stewart told My Business.

“Simple things like overcharging, undercharging, overheating and puncturing a Lipo battery could result in the battery catching fire.

“With this fear, the very first accessories I purchased for my UAV was a pair of Lipo fire-proof bags and fire extinguisher. These bags were used whenever [I] stored or charged Lipo batteries.”

According to Mr Stewart, the Hovervault is made from a fibreglass fabric capable of withstanding temperatures in excess of 500 degrees Celsius.

“The Hovervault cannot stop a hoverboard battery fire from occurring in the first place. [It] is designed to contain the fire, and reduce the chances of fire damage and explosive metallic debris from escaping into the area,” he said.

Production is currently underway and the first shipments of Hovervaults to customers are expected to begin next month.

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