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Theres a new, trend: the fidget spinner.

Its a toy like a top, but spun in


the hand rather than on a surface. The user holds a pad at the center,
and flicks one of three rounded blades. The spinner rotates around a
bearing at the center. The light weight of the device and the low friction
of the bearing allows it to spin for a long time.

What is it for? The fidget spinner has been framed as just a toybut
also as a stress-relief tool, a classroom menace, a treatment for ADHD,
and a possible salve to smartphone addiction, among other things.

Fidget spinners might or might not be any of those things, but at their
core they are something more, and something stranger: the perfect
material metaphor for everyday life in early 2017, for good and for ill.
A fidget spinner is a type of toy, whose marketers claim it relieves stress. A basic fidget
spinner consists of a bearing in the center of a design made from any of a variety of
materials including brass, stainless steel, titanium, copper and plastic. The toy has been
advertised as helping people who have trouble with focusing or fidgeting (such as those
with ADHD, autism, or anxiety) by acting as a release mechanism for nervous energy
or psychological stress. Experts were divided on this claim, with some supporting it while
others disputed its scientific basis and argued the toy may actually be more distracting.
Although they were invented in the 1990s, fidget spinners became popular toys in 2017.
Often marketed with claims of health benefits, the toy began being used by school children,
resulting in some schools banning the spinners, arguing that the toy became a distraction in
classrooms. Other schools are allowing the toy to be used discreetly by children,
presumably to help them concentrate.

1Design
2Origin
3Rise in popularity
o 3.1Responses from schools
4Health effects
5See also
6References
7Further reading

Design
Fidget spinners are often designed allegedly with the intent to relieve stress.[1][2] Basic fidget
spinners consist of a two or three pronged design with a bearing in its center circular
pad.[2][3] An individual holds the center pad while the toy spins.[3] Designs are made from
various materials including brass, stainless steel, titanium, copper, aluminum, and
plastic.[1][2][4] The types of bearings generally used are ceramic, metal (stainless
steel or chrome), and hybrid designs. Additionally, bearings can be different to adjust for
the design's spin time, vibration, and noise, leading to unique sensory feedback.

Origin
Catherine Hettinger, a chemical engineer by training, was initially credited by some news
stories to have been the inventor of the fidget spinner, including by media outlets such
as The Guardian,[5] The New York Times,[6] and the New York Post.[7] Hettinger filed a patent
application for a "spinning toy" in 1993.[8] Hettinger told the New York Post that the idea for
the toy came as she saw young boys throwing rocks at police officers in Israel. In response
to seeing that, she wanted to develop a soothing toy that could help children release pent-
up energy and "promote peace."[7]However, she told The Guardian that the origins of the
fidget spinner came when she was suffering from myasthenia gravis, an autoimmune
disorder that causes muscle weakness.[5] Unable to play with her daughter, she started
"throwing things together with newspaper and tape" in an effort to entertain her. It soon
gained moderate popularity as she began small-scale manufacturing from her home and
sold her invention around art fairs in Florida.[5]
Hettinger applied for a patent on May 28, 1993 for a one-piece round device made of "soft
plastic" with a "dome" (center indentation for finger placement) and a "skirt" (circular
outward extension),[8] then pitched her spinner device to toy manufacturers.
However, Hasbro declined to pursue a deal after market-testing it.[5] Hettinger let her
spinning toy patent lapse in 2005; if it had been maintained, it would have expired in 2014.[9]
A Bloomberg News article, however, disputes the claim that Hettinger is the original
inventor of the fidget spinner, citing two patent lawyers who saw little resemblance between
the fidget spinners which rose to popularity in 2017 and Hettinger's spinning toy, as
described in the patent. Hettinger acknowledges there is no direct connection between her
own spinning toy and fidget spinners in their current form and does not make any claims on
being the inventor of the product, telling Bloomberg News: "Let's just say I'm claimed to be
the inventor. You know, 'Wikipedia claims', or something like that."[9]
Although the patent status of the various fidget spinners currently on the market is
unclear,[9] in an interview appearing on May 4, 2017 on NPR, Scott McCoskery describes
how he invented a metal spinning device in 2014 to cope with his own fidgeting
in IT meetings and conference calls.[10] In response to requests from an online community,
he began selling the device he called the Torqbar online.[10]Shortly thereafter, others began
making and selling their own versions, and in 2016 he partnered with a friend to file for a
provisional patent.[10]

Rise in popularity

Google Search popularity of fidget spinners in early 2017.

On December 23, 2016, James Plafke of Forbes published an article describing fidget
spinners as the "must-have office toy for 2017."[4] In late March, users on social media
websites such as YouTube and Reddit began uploading videos reviewing and performing
tricks with fidget spinners.[6] The Boston Globe reported that fidget toys in general "entered
the mainstream" with the related Fidget Cube toy also rising in popularity.[1] Several sellers
on Etsy were reported to be creating and selling customized spinner designs.[1]
The fidget spinner's popularity began to increase greatly in April 2017,
with Google searches for "fidget spinner" spiking that month, according
to Money magazine.[11][12] By May 4, variations of the spinner occupied every spot
on Amazon's top 20 best seller list for toys.[11] Many publications referred to the fidget
spinner as a fad, with some journalists comparing it to the rise in popularity of water bottle
flipping in 2016.[13][14] On April 27, 2017, the New York Post detailed, "so-called fidget
spinners, low-tech, low-price stress relieving toys, are a huge fad sweeping the country,
and stores can't keep them in stock."[13] In May 2017, there was so much demand for fidget
spinners that in China, some factories that used to make cellphones and phone
accessories switched to making fidget spinners.[15]
On May 16, 2017, video game publisher Ketchapp released a fidget spinner app. The app
received 7 million downloads in the first two weeks after it was released.[16]

Responses from schools

A plastic fidget spinner with two blades

With the rapid increase in the spinner's popularity in 2017 combined with the spinner's
often advertised benefits for individuals with ADHD and autism, among other conditions
many children and teenagers began using it in school.[17] Some schools also reported that
kids were trading and selling the spinner toys.[11][18] The Boston Globe cited a sixth-grade
teacher from New Hampshire, who stated, "when we got back from Christmas break, a
couple of kids had them, then a couple more kids had them, and then they were definitely
en vogue."[1] In some cases, the fidget spinners were reported to assist some children with
focusing in school.[19] In regards to a broader context of fidget tools in general, the Chicago
Tribune reported, "today, it's common to see kids using some kind of fidget or other tool to
help them settle and focus."[17]
As a result of their frequent usage by school children, many school districts have banned
the toy.[5][6][20] Cited reasons for their banning were often teachers arguing that the spinners
distracted students from completing their school work.[11] Taylor-Klaus stated, "there are
definitely times that kids don't know how to use a fidget and it becomes the primary focus
instead of the background focus", adding that, "spinners are visually distracting, and they
can make some noise, so it's not an ideal fidget for the classroom. But still, not allowing
them in schools is probably throwing the baby out with the bath water."[20] Illinois' Plainfield
District 202 discussed possibly banning the spinner, with the district's assistant
superintendent for student services, Mina Griffith, stating, "We have students who use them
as an accommodation. They've been taught how to use them. But they're becoming a
distraction for some kids. For students who don't have a disability, it's a toy, and that's
never been allowed."[17] According to a study from the fidget spinner database Spinner List,
32% of the top 200 American high schools the 100 largest private and 100 largest public
schools, according to Department of Education data have banned spinners from the
premises.[21]

Health effects
A fidget spinner with one bearing

When fidget spinners rose in popularity in 2017, many publications discussed their claimed
benefits for individuals with ADHD, autism, or anxiety.[24] As Money detailed, fidget spinners
were "created and marketed as a calming tool used to stay focused."[11] Some fidget
spinners sold on Amazon were advertised as "stress relievers."[22] Hettinger accounted her
knowledge of "a special needs teacher who used it with autistic kids, and it really helped to
calm them down."[5] James Plafke of Forbes explained, "ultimately, though, there isn't
enough research regarding whether or not these spinners can actually help people from a
mental health standpoint."[4] Experts themselves were polarized on this claim, as some
supported the notion of its benefit for those with ADHD and autism,[25] while others argued
the spinners could actually be more distracting than helpful with focusing.[26][27]
When reporting on their effects for individuals with ADHD, CNN cited Elaine Taylor-Klaus,
the co-founder of ImpactADHD, a coaching service for children with attention disorders and
their parents.[20] Taylor-Klaus stated "For some people [with ADHD], there's a need for
constant stimulation. What a fidget allows some people not all people with ADHD to
do is to focus their attention on what they want to focus on, because there's sort of a
background motion that's occupying that need."[20] U.S. News & World Report referenced
two occupation therapists interviewed by WTOP, Katherine Ross-Keller and Stephen
Poss.[22][28] Ross-Keller stated, "Fidgets are great tools for kids who need them, as long as
there are ground rules set up with the child and educator in advance, and as long as the
child can follow the rules." Poss offered a more critical view of the spinners, "the spinner
toys, in my opinion, and that of teachers I've spoken to, are just that toys," adding,
"fidget objects are meant to be felt, so that visual attention can be focused on the teacher.
Spinner toys are visually distracting, and I think that's their major drawback."

This addictive gadgets come in a range of shapes and colours.

Originally designed as a stress-relieving tool, they have even been used to help children with
additional needs such as ADHD.

They're like little propeller-shaped gadgets with ball bearings that allow them to spin.

Kids enjoy competing to see who can come up with the best tricks or keep their gadget
spinning the longest.

They can also help kids focus on daily tasks, and relieve anxiety levels.

This multi-mechanism is billed as 'great for those that can't quite keep still and need a fidget
phenomenon to stop the strains and stresses whilst working'.

There's also a bit of science to it and some tricks you can perform using stuff like hair dryers.
Find out more about the technical design here .

Why? What's the point?

We can all get easily get distracted. The theory is the spinners give your bored energy an
outlet.

Just as doodling is thought to increase concentration, fidget spinners supposedly help you
focus your mind.

For those with anxiety or stress, the spinners supposedly have a calming effect.

And they have even proved to help kick the odd bad habit.