Fidget Spinners, Initially started gaining popular and wide acceptance in early this year (april 2017) then becomes a new trend of fashion toys before it becomes obsolete near the end of this year. It is about the story of how a fun product can become so popular once and dies out relatively fast. Lets find out !
Fidget Spinners are not new inventions of the century, nor a innovation that changed the world we are living in now.
Although there is similar devices invented as early as year 1993, but never been a hype about these Fidget Spinners as the latest 2017 reintroduction.
The main motivation behind this wide acceptance is down to a claim of medical benefits of Fidget Spinners. It was advertised to help people who have trouble with focusing or fidgeting (restless, uneasy, nervous) by relieving stress. The spectrum of benifit had been extended to calm down people who suffer with anxiety or other neurological disorders like Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) and Autism.
However within months the medical benefits claims had been disputed and been classified as attention distracting toys.
With many kids and teenagers adapting the toys in schools had lead to a wide ban of the toy in various schools. The Spinners are proven to take away the attention span of the innocent kids and teenagers in class.
The Build Concept of Fidget Spinners
Fidget Spinners comes in variety of shape, sizes, colors, materials, and attachments in the market. All looks different but fundamentally the same.
The Spinners is usually consist of center circular pad (or finger pad ), and the weighted blades or prongs.
The central circular pad can consist of plain bearing, or more complicated ball bearing for increase in smoothness and frictionless spins. The pad is usually elevated than the other parts. It is designed to be easily hold and stabilize with fingers or even spin smooth on a flat surface like palms and tabletops.
Extending to the side are the weighted blades (or also known as lobes or prongs), that created a balanced sustainable rotation. It can comes with different number of blades and complexity. Commonly seen are three blades design. The blades is placed in the way that they balance out each other.
In advanced Fidget designs, there will be different attachments at their blades, including light attachments and secondary bearings. Light attachments increase the fun of spinning the Fidget Spinners, expecially at night, creating amazing displays of color changes. It attracts the young kids but may risk of chocking as parts are removeable. Extra bearings create even higher sustainable spins and usually made of metalic parts.
In some cases, people are associating the Fidget Spinners design with similarities to a Japanese ninja hand thrown weapon – the shiruken.
The Gyroscopic Effects of a Fidget Spinner
The basic concept in a Fidget Spinners is down to its gyroscopic effects when it was spinning at high speed. As the weighted blades spins, it creates a centripetal force that holds its original position during the duration of the spin.
Like a gyroscope, the higher the weight of the spinning flywheel mass or the higher the number of spins per minute, it is harder to shift its position. It is similar to other type of gyroscopic toys like traditional tops spinning, yoyo and Beyblade (which was an advance top system that created a hype among the teenagers previously).
With the gyroscopic effects, Fidget Spinners can also used to pull out tricks and stuns like other gyroscopic toys. Attempting to fidget with a Fidget Spinners will return the player with specific tactile vibrations and sensory feedbacks.
The Optical Illusion of a Fidget Spinner
Some may notice the optical illusion creates by a rotating Fidget Spinners. It creates a optical illusion of slow to fast moving blades shadow, which is similar to viewing a moving shadows of a fan blades. Such optical feedbacks also claims to soothe the eyes and the brain.
The illusion is commonly happens when the rotating objects is illuminated with an artificial light sources that have tendency to have micro strobes (fluorescent lights and LED lightings) due to the alternative current of the power source or micro dimming of light sources via pulse width modulation. Advanced Spinners with synchronized LED strobes can create an amazing light display.
The myth of Fidget Spinners
Does Fidget Spinners actually solve the fidgety issues? There had been mix debates on the effectiveness of a Fidget Spinners in subject of reliving stress and anxiety.
There are many stress reliving tools in the market. For example – the stress balls, which considering as emotional soothing and stress calming via repeated rolling of balls in hand (china baoding balls) or repeated squeezing (foam rubber stress reliver toys). It is not scientific proven as a treatment for stress, but it was closely related to exercise of the hand muscle and stimulation of acupuncture points of the hands.
To operate a Spinners, one does not need to move the hand muscles much. Hence it can’t be classified as a device for hand exercise.
The initial debut of the reintroduction of the Spinners is because they can create both optical and tactile vibrations feedbacks to our brain to distract the uneasiness and fidgeting. It is view as an attention exhaustion tool.
In the case of people with attention issues, the Fidget Spinners are thought to distract and exhaust their attention in fidgeting with the Spinners and not doing other things like finger plucking, leg stumping, moving around etc. It is seen physically the subject is more calm and able to sit still while attending focus related task like in class and studying.
However it had been disputed as there is no scientific evidences that by exhausting their extra attention span via distraction will improve the focus on the primary subject. For some, the device will get bored very fast and it is all back to square one.
Its use on people without attention disorders will not gain any benifit from the Spinners as it is proven to distract their attention and steal their primary focus.
The myth of Fidget Spinners for medical benefits had once been broken.
The Hype and Trend of the Spinners
When a Fidget Spinners starts to associate with stress relive and and reduce anxiety, many company jump in the hype train and creates their version of Fidget Spinners. Within months, the market is filled with all different types of Spinners, ranging from plastic to metalic builds.
Many unique Spinners of premium quality are sold as collectors editions. Some are come in series with “collect them all while stock last” motto. In the commercial world, it quickly becomes a fashion statement.
The hype is further increase due to its simplicity in build concept. The Spinners will work as long as there is a central pad with a bearing and the weighted blades are space equally for stability. Hence complex shapes like batman shaped, snowflakes shaped, hammer shaped, wedge shaped, shiruken shaped etc are all possible.
In no time, specialize Fidget Spinners retail shop and online store flourish across the globe.
The sudden hype in Fidget Spinners also brought in competitive environment. The manufacturer targets all premium groups and budget groups.
When china joins in the hype, there is overwhelming supply of budget Spinners that floods the market. It creates a must-have trends in the youngsters as it is widely affordable.
“Every cool kids in the block have it and so do i.”
However, the trend doesn’t stay long enough. The market is already over saturated with Spinners within months. There are not much innovation of these Spinners for other uses. It is classified generally as a toy with not much of health or medical benefits.
Currently the Fidget Spinners demands are slowly cooling off.
The hard core fans and dedicated collectors are still out there collecting special edition Spinners.
We had learned that not all trends are created alike, some do last longer than the other. We will never know when the hype about Fidget Spinners will be back.
So stay tuned !