A thing common on different social media platforms these days, is a so called “toy”, Fidget Spinner. It seems cool but how does it keep its spin alive?

What is it?

Fidget Spinner is a toy that spins on its own axis using a ball bearing as a base. However, it is being marketed as psychological stress relieving device and is reported as an effective treatment of Autism by Wikipedia.

Although, entire trend of Fidget Spinner emerged this year, but some reports claim a similar toy was built way back in the year 1993. So, the guy who actually got this thing patented is, no, actually she is a gal, she is Catherine Hettinger.

Catherine Hettinger, a Chemical Engineer by profession, got a patent in 1993 for a spinning toy but she allowed to lapse this patent in the year 2005. Some sources have even reported that Hettinger herself agreed that she never invented Fidget Spinner, her invention was completely different.


How it started?

Fidget Spinner began transforming from a toy to a trend by the end of year 2016. By March 2017, popular social websites were full of content including posts, videos about fidget spinner. Amazon’s top 20 best-selling toys had Fidget Spinner in this list in May 2017. The craze behind popularity of Fidget Spinner can be imagined from the spiking high number of Google search for “Fidget Spinner” term (Picture below).

An estimate shows that there are about 8.2k sellers of Fidget spinner on Amazon alone and about 600k Fidget Spinners are already sold on Amazon and eBay. 

fidget spinner sales
Mechanics of it

Now, what’s cool about it is the simple physics behind its working. A ball bearing used at its centre is actually upon which entire balanced toy rotates. A little swirl of finger sets it into motion and it continues to rotate for a longer time because rolling friction is quite lesser than sliding friction or any other type of friction (Well, that’s not too much of Physics :p). This simple design allows toy to be designed of every possible material out there.

These are made up of plastic, brass, stainless steel etc. and that to in a variety of shapes including some irregular ones like that of shape of bat(Yeah, seriously).


Is it hyped?

Most of us must be remembering those Beyblades with which we used to play in our childhood. Fidget Spinners now seem to continue that same legacy to the newer generation. But still, that Beyblade trend was not that huge and this was because there was not enough of social media that time.

Some schools in US have reportedly banned this item in their school, blaming it as a cause of distraction in students.

Teachers reported to witness behavioral changes in their students, as they are concerned about nothing else than Fidget Spinner.

Owing to reported benefits of this toy in treatment of ADHD and Autism, though there are no scientific evidences to support this claim, this is a must have toy for such people. But the other side of coin is completely different and a bit scary too. Many incidents are reported where chargeable and Bluetooth enabled Fidget Spinners are exploding and catching fire. What’s more unfortunate is that, a major audience of these toys are small kids. Some Fidget Spinners are also using lead as a material in manufacturing this. Lead can cause serious health issues like Cancer if in contact with body for a prolonged period.

And at last to keep it spinning…

It also has its pros and cons. Although these toys may be helping in staying focused but also can lead to life threat if not handled carefully. So, it is ultimately our own choice, how to use these devices. Instead of getting crazy and risking your life for such a stupid small thing, we must pledge to use it purposefully and wisely to keep us and our loved ones safe and happy.

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Author: Shivank Awasthi

Enthusiastic, Tech Savvy, Nationalist, Passionate, Follows the motto “Dream Big Think Big”. I love reading, writing and coding.

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