Business / Tech

Bearing maker NSK claims to make world's top fidget spinner


A major bearing maker in Kanagawa Prefecture claims to have developed a fidget spinner that whirls longer than any on the market — 12 minutes and counting.

Most fidget spinners, the must-have toy for 2017, can only spin on their own for a few minutes at most. But a subsidiary of precision machinery maker NSK has applied ball bearings used in space satellites and computer disks to make the Rolls Royce of fidget spinners.

The propeller-like gadget — billed as a stress reliever but banned in some schools as a distraction — has ball bearings in each of the three “blades” that keep the propeller spinning effortlessly around the central bearing with the flick of a finger.

“We’re confident that ours is the longest spinner around,” said Toshikazu Ishii, president of NSK Micro Precision Co.

Put to the test at AFP’s Tokyo bureau, the company’s wheel-shaped Saturn Spinner whirled for 13 minutes and 35 seconds — although it took a few tries.

The secret is all in the design, Ishii says. The gadget, built at a pristine factory in the city of Fujisawa, has a heavy brass frame and a light aluminium ball bearing to increase centrifugal force.

But their ¥17,280 ($157) price tag makes them the preserve of only the most eager and cash-rich fidgeters. Most spinners cost around $12 or less.

Ishii hopes the pricey gadget will stimulate interest in the often overlooked world of ball bearings.

“Hundreds of bearings are found in products all around us, but most people don’t see them or pay much attention to them,” he said.