Although technology is growing at an unprecedented rate, the safety of such technological products remains questionable.
The first trend of such products exploding/catching on fire started with the Samsung Galaxy phones, then the iPhones (according to some disputed reports), and now the Fitbit.
The Fitbit is a wireless activity tracker and sleep wristband which measures data such as the number of steps walked, heart rate, quality of sleep, and other personal metrics to regulate an individual’s fitness and well-being.
From this story, there may be dangers of using them…
One reported incident so far
Dina Mitchell, a user of the Fitbit wristband, reported that her Fitbit Flex 2 caught on fire while she was reading a book. Dina said: “It burned the heck out of my arm“, and she consequently suffered second-degree burns from the fire.
Dina claimed that a doctor had to take small pieces of plastic and rubber out of the wound following the incident. She also mentioned that she had only been wearing the Flex 2 for around 2 weeks before the device seemingly overheated and caught on fire.
Makers of the Fitbit are investigating the incident and said they are:
“…extremely concerned about Ms. Mitchell’s report regarding her Flex 2 and take it very seriously, as the health and safety of our customers is our top priority.”
However, they’ve also said that they see “no reason” for people to stop wearing the Flex 2 tracker.
Of course the makers of Fitbit would try to give their assurances to their users, but should they be thinking about a recall of all the trackers to find the root of the problem? As always, this scenario could have been far, far worse.
Fitbit makers continue to give their reassurances in a statement, saying:
“…we are not aware of any other complaints of this nature and see no reason for people to stop wearing their Flex 2.”
It almost seems like déjà vu. This seems similar to what Samsung protested when there was an ‘isolated’ incident of their Galaxy Note 7 exploding.
Exploding technological devices
It’s evident that the batteries in many electronic devices can be susceptible to overheating and have known to catch fire. I refer you to the Samsung and iPhone saga. In 2016, Samsung recalled every one of their Galaxy Note 7 worldwide after multiple reports of the devices overheating and exploding. More recently, an iPhone 7 Plus owner reported that her device “blew up” following battery issues.
As smartphones and devices become more powerful and prominent in today’s society, so do their lithium batteries, and the strain on power sources. I can’t help but wonder whether manufacturers are doing enough to test the safety of such devices before they are introduced into the market; or are they just desperately trying to meet the demand the market calls for?
Fitbit’s spokesperson said that:
“…products are designed and produced in accordance with strict standards and undergo extensive internal and external testing to ensure the safety of our users.”
So what’s happened here, then?
Previous issues with the Fitbit
Fitbit has not previously had any reports of the exploding device. However, in 2014, 2% of users suffered from a skin rash while wearing its force tracker. As a response, Fitbit recalled the device and immediately discontinued the product.
Do we need the same thing to happen for the Flex 2?