December 10th, 2021—
A fidget spinner might entertain you for a short time, but unless you’re an astronaut you will only be able to experience it in Earth gravity. Wouldn’t it be fun if you could play with a fidget toy in a variety of planetary gravity magnitudes? Now you can, thanks to the Original Solarfidget.
The Original Solarfidget is a DIY desk toy similar to a fidget spinner. Pick up the puck-like device and give it a little jostle to start the LEDs spinning. They’ll spin for a while before slowly coming to halt. If you tilt it, the LED will settle at the bottom of the puck like a pendulum. But here’s where the fun comes in: it can react to different gravity levels. That means you can see how the LEDs would spin in the heavy gravity of Jupiter or the miniscule gravity of Pluto.
To build your own Original Solarfidget, you will need an Arduino Nano or Nano 33 IoT. It detects movement and the direction of gravity using an MPU6050 triple-axis accelerometer and gyroscope sensor on a breakout board. The spinner shows on a strip of WS2812B individually addressable RGB LEDs. Power comes from a 380mAh LiPo battery. The case is 3D-printable and there is even a 3D-printed magnetic charger to top off the battery.
This is the kind of gizmo that is perfect for fidgeting at your desk or for giving young students a demonstration of how gravity works on other planets.