Fidget Spinners: Spin-Off Or Ripoff?

Feb 5, 2018 By Isaac, 10
iliketurtles's picture

What’s the big deal with those spinners? Fidget Spinners, you call them? More like addictive plastic thingies. Now, before we discuss the pros and cons, we need to know the physics behind the “forever-going” fidget spinner...    

After tons of research, I discovered that angular momentum plays a big role in a successful fidget spinner. We know that angular momentum = angular velocity (speed) x moment of inertia. We also know that moment of inertia = mass x radius squared. The three little rounded “arms” sticking out increases the toy’s radius, and the extra weights at the endpoints also add more mass.

With a larger mass times a longer radius, we get more “moment of inertia”. With an enhanced moment of inertia, the momentum increases... which results in extra spinning time!

Although the manufacturer “claims” they spin for up to five minutes, I’ve only achieved a max of two minutes. At 40% of target, I feel that the marketing department may have slightly exaggerated its true performance.

Like it’s cousin, the Fidget Cube, this gadget is supposed to help kids focus and keep restless fidgeting under control, but many experts and teachers have come to believe that this toy has grown into a huge distraction everywhere. It’s super addictive since the temptation of watching it spin is overwhelming.

It’s become an addicting, useless toy which also contains small pieces leading to potential choking hazards for young children. I, myself own one of these toys, yet it hasn’t helped me in any way (although it’s pretty fun and creates reflective patterns such as crescents and circles).

However, the fidget spinner was invented for kids with focusing or fidgeting problems, autism, and ADHD. It helps individuals focus and keeps fidgeting under control. Individuals with autism or ADHD can repeat the spinning motion over and over to relieve stress. It’s kinda like a stress ball; You convert all your extra anxiety or energy into squeezing a ball (in this case, flicking a spinner).

So, is a Fidget Spinner marvelous or menacing? It depends on who you are and what your personality is. Me? I think you should save yourselves a few bucks because fidget spinners are a waste of time and money–but this can change. The Fidget Spinner may one day be the single line of thread that holds humanity together. Think about it, and decide if this product benefits you...