Japan gives world-beating fidget spinner a whirl

August 9, 2017

One company in perfectionism-obsessed Japan is claiming it has developed a fidget spinner that whirls longer than any rival on the market—12 minutes and counting.

Most fidget spinners, the must-have toy for 2017, can only rotate on their own for a few minutes at most.

But a subsidiary of precision machinery maker NSK set its sights on utilising the company's ball bearings, used in space satellites and computer disks, to make the Rolls Royce of fidget spinners.

The gadget—billed as a stress reliever but banned in some schools as a distraction—has a ball bearing in the centre and is designed to effortlessly spin with the flick of a finger.

"We're confident that ours is the longest spinner around," said Toshikazu Ishii, president of NSK Micro Precision.

Put to the test inside AFP's Tokyo bureau, the company's wheel-shaped Saturn Spinner whirled for 13 minutes and 35 seconds—although it took a few tries.

The secret is all in the design, Ishii says. The gadget, built at a pristine factory near Tokyo, has a heavy brass frame and a light aluminium ball bearing to increase centrifugal force.

But they don't come cheap at 17,280 yen ($157) apiece, making them the preserve of only the most eager and cash-rich fidgeters. Most spinners cost around $12 or less.

Ishii hopes the pricey gadget will stimulate interest in the often overlooked world of ball bearings.

"Hundreds of bearings are found in products all around us, but most people don't see them or pay much attention to them," he said.

Explore further: Fidget spinners are the latest toy craze, but the medical benefits are unclear

Related Stories

Fidget spinners—tool or toy?

May 12, 2017

They are flying off store shelves and showing up in classrooms around the country. The growing popularity of fidget spinners, originally designed to help children and adults with autism and attention disorders like ADHD, ...

The surprising science of fidgeting

May 24, 2017

Hand-held toys known as "fidget spinners" – marketed as "stress relievers" – have become so popular and distracting in classrooms that they are now being banned in many schools. And it's not just kids who like to fidget. ...

Fullerene spheres can be used to slide in the nanoworld

October 3, 2014

"Nano–machines" (around one billionth of a metre in size) of the future will need tiny devices to reduce friction and make movement possible. The C60 molecule, also known as fullerene or buckyball, seemed to many an excellent ...

Recommended for you

Earwigs and the art of origami

March 22, 2018

ETH Zurich researchers have developed multifunctional origami structures, which they then fabricated into 4-D printed objects. The design principle mimics the structure of an earwig's wing.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.