One For the Kids

Bearings company releases spinning top item

NSK Ltd., the Tokyo-based bearings manufacturer, has developed a unique spinning top that incorporates several industrial-level precision bearings. The top can stay upright and spin for about 8 minutes even on rough surfaces with its weighted ring model, the company says. The item went on sale January 15, NSK announced via press release. The product is intriguing when coming from a company with 2 billion in net sales last year from its industrial machinery business. Fear not the language barrier, for the video displays all:

In Japan, koma-asobi (top spinning) is a traditional game that has been enjoyed for over four centuries. Children often play with tops during the New Year’s holiday, and some claim they bring good luck. The shape of the traditional spinning top has evolved over the years, but the core physical principles of play have not. With a playful spirit, and dedication to excellence, NSK Micro Precision endeavored to further evolve the spinning top, ultimately arriving at a completely game-changing design. The new top features the high precision bearings favored by Yo-yo world champions, and the central shaft doesn’t rotate. This allows the top to spin for about 8 minutes on most surfaces, far longer than your average top (typically 2-3 minutes on rough surfaces).

Normally, spinning tops are made from a single piece of material, and the top body and center axis portion rotate as one when spun. The tip of the center portion touches the ground, so friction between the two surfaces gradually slows the top until it falls. In contrast, the NSK Micro Precision spintop has two precision bearings on the central shaft, so the shaft effectively moves separate from the body. When spinning the top, only the body rotates, so rotation-slowing friction doesn’t affect the body as with regular tops. This unique shaft and bearing combination allows the top to spin unhindered, even on rough surfaces. It also enables the top to be picked up and even inverted.

This new toy follows NSK Micro Precision’s hit fidget spinner, the Saturn Spinner, which sold out on the first day. The company hopes that these toys will spark the interest of children and adults alike in the mysteries of science and technology.

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