Fidget spinner

A fidget spinner is a toy that consists of a ball bearing in the center of a multi-lobed (typically two or three) flat structure made from metal or plastic designed to spin along its axis with very little effort. Fidget spinners became trending toys in 2017, although similar devices had been invented as early as 1993.[1]

Fidget spinner
Fidget spinner red, cropped.jpg
A typical three-lobed fidget spinner
TypeStress-relieving toy
CountryUnited States
MaterialsBrass, stainless steel, ceramic, titanium, copper, plastic, latex etc.

The toy has been promoted as helping people who have trouble focusing or those who may need to fidget to relieve nervous energy, anxiety, or psychological stress. There are claims that a fidget spinner can help calm down people who have anxiety and other neurological disorders like ADHD and autism.[2] However, as of May 2017, there is no scientific evidence that they are effective as a treatment for ADHD.[3][4]


Spinning fidget spinner

Fidget spinners are toys like yo-yo or other skill toys, designed to spin with little effort.[5][6] A basic fidget spinner usually consists of a two- or three-pronged design with a bearing in its center circular pad. However, the number of prongs may vary - some may have six or more.[6][7] A person holds the center pad while the toy spins.[7] They are made from various materials including brass, stainless steel, titanium, copper, aluminium, and plastic.[5][6] The bearings are generally ceramic, metal (stainless steel or chrome), and some are hybrids—such as ceramic balls with stainless races and cages. Each fidget spinner also has two or more weights on the outside that make it spin faster and stay balanced. Bearings can vary to adjust for the design's spin time, vibration, and noise, causing unique sensory feedback.

Being a kind of a flywheel of a gyroscope in principle, fidget spinners come with similar effects enabling a player to pull various tricks and stunts while forces of a gyroscope take hold. A fidget spinner can be balanced on top of fingers, thrown and caught, and so on.[8]


As of 2017, the patent status of the various fidget spinners on the market was unclear.[9]

Catherine Hettinger, a chemical engineer by training, was initially credited by some news stories as having been the inventor of the fidget spinner, including by media outlets such as The Guardian,[10] The New York Times,[11] and the New York Post.[12] Hettinger filed a patent application for a "spinning toy"[13] in 1993 and a patent was issued, but Hettinger allowed the patent to lapse in 2005 after she could not find a commercial partner.[9][10] A May 2017 Bloomberg News article showed that Hettinger was not the inventor of the fidget spinner, and Hettinger agreed.[9]

In an interview appearing on 4 May 2017 on NPR, Scott McCoskery described how he invented a metal spinning device in 2014 to cope with his own fidgeting in IT meetings and conference calls.[14] In response to requests from an online community, he began selling the device he called the Torqbar online.[14]

Popularity and adolescent usageEdit

Google Search popularity of fidget spinners in early 2017.

With the rapid increase in the popularity of fidget spinners in 2017, many children and teenagers began using them in school, and some schools also reported that students were trading and selling the spinner toys.[15][16][17]

As a result of their frequent use by school children, many school districts banned the toy.[10][11] Some teachers argued that the spinners distracted students from their schoolwork.[15] According to a survey conducted by Alexi Roy and published in May 2017, 32% of the largest 200 American public and private high schools had banned spinners on campus.[18]

When fidget spinners rose in popularity in 2017, many publications in the popular press discussed the marketing claims made about them for people with ADHD, autism, or anxiety.[4][10][11] However, there is no scientific evidence that fidget spinners are effective as a treatment for children with ADHD.[3][4][19] They quickly fell in popularity and sales after peaking in May 2017.[20]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Calfas, Jennifer. "Meet the Woman Who Invented Fidget Spinners, the Newest Toy Craze Sweeping America". Time. Archived from the original on May 3, 2017. Retrieved August 31, 2018.
  2. ^ McGri, David (2017-08-18). "Fidget Spinners". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2017-08-21.
  3. ^ a b Calfas, Jennifer (May 11, 2017). "Do Fidget Spinners Really Help With ADHD? Nope, Experts Say". Money. Time. Archived from the original on May 11, 2017. Retrieved May 16, 2017.
  4. ^ a b c Singh, Anita; Horton, Helena; Fuller, George (May 3, 2017). "Fidget spinners: the new classroom craze being banned across the nation". The Telegraph. Retrieved May 16, 2017.
  5. ^ a b Arnett, Dugan (March 30, 2017). "Need to focus? Fidget toys may help". The Boston Globe. Retrieved April 4, 2017.
  6. ^ a b c Tuttle, Brad; O'Brien, Elizabeth (April 21, 2017). "Meet the Fidget Spinner, the New Toy Craze Entrancing Kids and Grownups Alike". Money. Archived from the original on April 22, 2017. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
  7. ^ a b Verstegen, Dominic (April 21, 2017). "Your kid probably has a fidget spinner already, but let me tell you about it anyway". USA Today. Retrieved May 7, 2017.
  8. ^ Benwell, Max (May 15, 2017). "Fidget spinners: What are they and why are they so addictive?". The Independent. Retrieved August 17, 2017.
  9. ^ a b c Brustein, Joshua (May 11, 2017). "How the Fidget Spinner Origin Story Spun Out of Control". Bloomberg News. Retrieved May 12, 2017.
  10. ^ a b c d Luscombe, Richard (May 5, 2017). "As fidget spinner craze goes global, its inventor struggles to make ends meet". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
  11. ^ a b c Williams, Alex (May 6, 2017). "How Fidget Spinners Became a Hula-Hoop for Generation Z". The New York Times.
  12. ^ Miller, Joshua Rhett (May 5, 2017). "Woman who invented fidget spinners isn't getting squat". New York Post.
  13. ^ US 5591062A, Catherine A. Hettinger (Disputed), "Spinning toy", published 1997-01-07, issued 1997-01-07 
  14. ^ a b Malone, Kenny (May 4, 2017). "Fidget Spinner Emerges As Must-Have Toy Of The Year". Planet Money. NPR. Retrieved May 18, 2017.
  15. ^ a b Calfas, Jennifer (May 4, 2017). "Here's Everything You Need To Know About Fidget Spinners". Money. Time. Archived from the original on May 4, 2017. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  16. ^ "Many Schools Ban Hot Toy For Being Distraction". CBS Los Angeles. May 4, 2017. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  17. ^ "Fidget Spinners For Kids: Reports Say It's Distracting, Parents Say Not So". CBS Miami. May 2, 2017. Retrieved May 7, 2017.
  18. ^ Roy, Alexi (May 10, 2017). "The Fidget Spinners Are Banned in 32% of the Largest High Schools U.S." Spinner List.
  19. ^ Bogost, Ian. "The Fidget Spinner Explains the World". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2017-07-09.
  20. ^ "Get Over It. Fidget Spinner Trend Is Dead". Fortune. Retrieved Sep 1, 2020.

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