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What's the attraction? — Parallax Forums

What's the attraction?

MikeDYurMikeDYur Posts: 2,176
edited 2017-04-29 13:48 in General Discussion
I had my first experience with my grandsons fidget spinner:

Other than ball bearing manufacturer's having a new source for sales, I can't see the attraction. If this is allowed in class, why not an original gyroscope.

BTW: Remember when the Duncan Yo Yo was the craze in jr. high.


  • That seems distracting for class use. I'm glad I'm a foot fidgeter, I might kick your chair randomly but my hands are free.

    It seems like it would be hard to hold and spin at the same time. Does it feel natural to spin it?

  • xanadu wrote: »
    It seems like it would be hard to hold and spin at the same time. Does it feel natural to spin it?

    It is natural to hold on to. Keep in mind it has four ball bearing sets, The one in the center has plastic caps with depressions to hold on to. When you spin up the three outer bearings, it has a gyroscope effect, and spins for a long time.
  • Heater.Heater. Posts: 21,233
    Since when were you allowed to bring toys to class to "fidget" with ?
  • MikeDYurMikeDYur Posts: 2,176
    edited 2017-04-29 16:58
    Here is a better representation of the one I fiddled with. And it is making the news, as far as schools are concerned.

    A link to that:
    1920 x 1080 - 928K
  • Okay now I see why they would be really annoying to some people. Definitely cool, and certainly misused. Reminds me of the toys that require FAA registration. After Googling a couple of articles I'm shocked that it's a debate. Regardless of how well it works, there's a time and place for everything. If you're so important that you need to distract other people, you need more help than the fidget toy will give you. This is getting soap-boxy for a Saturday lol.

    I better get back to work,
  • Heater. wrote: »
    Since when were you allowed to bring toys to class to "fidget" with ?

    It has something to do with Attention Deficit Hyper-active Disorder (ADHD), which my grandson is being medicated for. If you ask me he doesn't have enough to occupy his mind. That is where a Pi Zero and a Propeller comes in. He has excellent grades in math and science, but I think he needs an intellectual hobby.
  • msrobotsmsrobots Posts: 3,419
    edited 2017-04-30 00:35

    they do not want active, searching, interested in all stuff children in school anymore. They need obedient workers. In Germany a 'Hyper-active' child would have gotten a drum set, at the time I grew up. Not getting medicated with Ritalin & CO.

    It's all about passing standardized tests, passing grades, and not about forming a developing mind to archive it's own greatness as in learning to learn, learning to explore and document those explorations for later use.

    I barely can imagine how growing up would be now for me. Over-flooded with information via cell-phone, all the soccer-mum appointments to do sport, barely time for yourself.

    No time to walk around in the nearby small park/forest to lay in the grass and study insects, plants, stuff like that. Just observing the beauty of nature and - well - learn from that experience.

    If they need 'fidgets' in school to follow the teacher, we have a big problem at hand.



  • KeithEKeithE Posts: 957
    edited 2017-04-30 01:20
    My 5th grader has complained about the number of kids bringing these spinners into school and how annoying they are. Two years ago it was kendamas, but those weren't being fiddled with during class. Then it was Pokemon Go and bottle flipping.

    Summer break is coming, so hopefully these will die out.
  • Heater.Heater. Posts: 21,233
    So, schools/teachers don't have any discipline or control anymore?

    What on earth has happened?

    And, well, how is it that school is so boring kids have to resort to bottle flipping for goodness sake.
  • MikeDYurMikeDYur Posts: 2,176
    edited 2017-04-30 12:35
    Now that I think about it, I should have been diagnosed with ADHD as a kid. Up till a certain age I always had to have a toy or gadget in my hands.
    As with my kids, they have to be reminded, No toys at the table and No toys taken to school. But I cant see medicating a kid for how they grow up in this materialistic world.
    Most people would go nuts, if you knocked us back a couple hundred years, and took all are toys away.
  • My wife's shorthand for moments like this is "clearly I was born on the wrong planet."
  • MikeDYur wrote: »
    Heater. wrote: »
    Since when were you allowed to bring toys to class to "fidget" with ?
    It has something to do with Attention Deficit Hyper-active Disorder (ADHD), which my grandson is being medicated for. If you ask me he doesn't have enough to occupy his mind. That is where a Pi Zero and a Propeller comes in. He has excellent grades in math and science, but I think he needs an intellectual hobby.

    I could see why ADHD kids would be allowed to use something in class. I was not including them in my rant. If there's a non-pharma product that helps, that's awesome. Now they need to make is less distracting, and balance will be restored. There's no reason to get hung up on one product. If that works, so will others. Finding a happy medium shouldn't be impossible. Understandably it will be extra work, for someone that deserves more pay.

  • I forgot about one fad - slime. Some young future entrepreneurs in our middle school were making and selling slime to students who were too lazy to make it themselves. Given how the kids play with it, perhaps it should be called fidget slime.

    Even Office Depot is trying to cash in on it (so maybe it's nearly over) -

    Heater: Look at the comments on this page, and you'll see why you probably wouldn't want to be a teacher (here):

    "I'm a Teacher, and Trust Me When I Say That Fidget Spinners Are the Effing Worst"
  • I understand the resistance to these spinners.

    But come on. How many of you didn't spin pens in your hand?

    I know these might be more distracting, but I don't think it indicates a problem with 'kids these days' when I did the same thing except with a pen.

    I teach a LOT of kids STEM. And based what I've seen I'd bet most of us here have some form of ADD etc. I know I do.
  • As somebody who was given Ritilan, Dexedrine and other drugs for ADHD, got thrown out of more schools than I can count and so on:

    In the final analysis, drugs and devices aren't the answer. Learning to channel the energy and exert will power is what will. After I quit taking drugs it took a long time to learn how to be myself and then longer still to learn how to work and do things in a focused, orderly manner. Of course, I'm still working on that last one. :-) But I feel the time in my childhood was wasted because they either drugged or enabled me.

    On the good side, once you master some discipline you can get more work done in a shorter period of time than most. I can get twice as much done as most people in the same amount of time. Bummer is I can only pull it off about half the time.... :-)
  • Truth right there. Well said.
  • ercoerco Posts: 19,960
    But come on. How many of you didn't spin pens in your hand?

    I do enjoy clicking retractable pens endlessly. Apparently more than some workmates enjoy hearing sometimes!

  • Seeing a kid go from one extreme to another over something called (to be edited),

    Having a bottomless pit, jumping off the walls playing a video game, while hand gesturing and commenting at the same time. Plus an open channel for outside communications.

    To a kid Not hungry. Quiet and still, but not much interested in anything.

    The kid just got student of the month, I'm hoping he is recognized for his multitasking abilities.

  • potatoheadpotatohead Posts: 10,191
    edited 2017-05-02 17:00
    How times have changed.

    As a kid suffering from these kinds of things, I flat refused the medication. Saw friends changed and down deep, to my sense of self, I found that profoundly offensive.

    And due to that, I was profoundly non compliant. No drugs. Either lock me up, or take another path. I was absolutely not going to do it, and I let them know I could and would tell on a sneak move.

    Amazingly, this came down to a few basic, and at times, physical power struggles. (70s era) I won, making sure it was way more expensive to attempt the medication than it was not.

    There was some discussion, and I got to bring electronics to class and for a while, was taken to the TV repair shop for learning a few times per week.

    Problem solved. The deal was get the stuff done, then do something interesting. Ok fine. Worth it.

    Ended up fixing a bunch of stuff the school was going to throw out too. of my spinners was two pencils, dental floss or thread, fastened so I could take one of the bigger, round top thumb tacks, wind it, pull the pencils apart and spin the tack like a top.

    I would sort though them, looking for ones welded nicely centered. Then I would work the tip, filing it on stones, until I got this nice, balanced point with just a tiny radius at the end.

    Done perfectly, the tack would just stand there, as if not moving, sweet. Some would go a good half minute before a wobble.

    The textured countertops were the best. Matching the tack radius to the average found in the texture would yield that perfect spin. Tack would move, settle, then just go in place.

    I remain very deeply bothered by how easily the medication is used. I'm a fairly self aware person. Always was, even very young. My sense of "me" and growth was keen. In my case, I knew all the way down, the conflict boiled down to whether I was ready for material, and it whether it was worth it.

    Being a kid, that sense of worth was crap, but still a powerful motivator.

    But, here is the thing. I got super good at whatever fidget thing I did. Another was skipping rocks. At one point, I would collect a bucket full of good rocks, take a walk to the creek, where there was a wide, glass like pool. To this day, I can skip one, just about any shape, and get the nice progression of skips...

    Just a couple days ago, I used that sense to polish and repair a complex injection tool. They said it could not be done. The same skills honed back then saw a walk around the office and shop, a lens because old eyes, and then the work. No different from those thumbtacks I made near perfect so long ago.

    Brought it out, and it worked. That tool has features milled with a .008" ball mill. (Two human hairs wide, and it cuts metal!

    So what I fear here is the dulling of minds, the snuffing out of that little spark that makes us who we are and that, encouraged, has a lot to do with what we are capable of too.

    I feel the general sense that our system is strained, ill equipped to mentor, enable and tease out the good, instead fixated on compliance with tepid norms.

    To me, I ask, "is there any wonder at kids acting out?"

    Answer, none.

    None of my kids needed those drugs, despite a diagnosis. What they needed were experiences they crave because of who they are becoming, not drugs to suppress that person.

    I made sure those happened, and had to do the human work to understand too. Once done, the acting out, trouble in school, all went away, or back to baseline, expected things almost all kids experience and respond to.
  • And be perfectly clear, those drugs are indicated No Doubt. There is a time and place for them, I just don't believe we are coming anywhere close to good judgement on time and place.
  • ercoerco Posts: 19,960
    edited 2017-05-03 15:06
    It's just a fad. Any other old coots here remember clackers back in the 1970s? Balls that could shatter in your face? These spinners seem harmless enough. If a teacher wants to confiscate them, so be it.

    I first heard of these in a SERVO magazine op-ed piece last month. Bryan Bergeron made them sound like God's gift to 3-D printing since they were hundred of dollars. Hmmm... you might be able to see the page at


    I think people in general are pretty stressed out right now by Brexit, the various elections, Donald Trump, Syria, North name it. So, it is a good time to be selling something that allows an individual to fidget off some stress
    Richard Gottlieb, Founder of Global Toy Experts
  • MikeDYurMikeDYur Posts: 2,176
    edited 2017-05-04 23:33
    This is making NBC Nightly News as I type.

    EDIT: We need to find an alternative use, when the landfills are topped off with these.

    EDIT2: How about robot hubs, big rubber tires driven by a center spindle.
  • ercoerco Posts: 19,960
    They already sell various metal bracelets (iron, copper, magnetic) to heal ailments. Change the bearing metals to these and get a double benefit when you hold these exotic metals! Fidget right through your arthritis, iron poor blood, what have you...
  • If you can't beat them, join them. A Parallax branded spinner could sell a lot better than the propeller beanie hat, and then there's the potential flip/blocklyprop tie-in marketing campaign.
  • This is how we handled a case of the fidgits back when:

  • Make one that will recharge a phone.
  • ercoerco Posts: 19,960
    I've been waiting for an LED version, powered by the rotation like Rollerblade wheels. First simple red LEDs, then RGB then a full POV display to write messages.
  • Potatohead and erco, you guys are on the right track. We need to electronificate these spinners. I envision a hands-free solar powered windowsill model.

    We need to get this done before someone figures out how to make piercings with them.
  • ceptimusceptimus Posts: 129
    edited 2017-05-05 21:14
    In Greece, and especially the Greek part of Cyprus, "worry beads" or kombolói are popular.

    It's not just kids that play with them - it's adults too. In some countries they have 'prayer beads' similar to these, but kombolói have no religious significance and are universally acknowledged as just something to fiddle with.

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