Hackaday Prize Entry: The Arduino Powered LED Persistence Of Vision Rechargeable 3D Printed Fidget Spinner

It had to come to this. For his entry into this year’s Hackaday Prize, [Sean Hodgins] created a persistence of vision fidget spinner. This isn’t just any PoV fidget spinner — this is the ultimate in fidget spinner technology. It’s rechargeable, and there’s an Arduino inside. The enclosure is 3D printed. It improves morale. It is everything you ever wanted in a fidget spinner, and it’s the last fidget spinner project [Sean] will ever make.

We’ve seen electronic fidget spinners before, but never to this degree of polish. The fidget spinner that teaches coding is fantastic, but it’s not quite as refined as connoisseurs of fine fidgets would like. The Internet of Fidget Spinners is likewise a worthy effort and even includes RGB LEDs and WiFi, but [Sean]’s POV fidget spinner is on another plane of reality. This spinner uses batteries that can be recharged, and there’s even a 3D printed (sintered, even!) enclosure that fits everything into a small, compact package. It is, by far, the most elegant fidget spinner we’ve ever seen, and it measures its own rotation speed. It just doesn’t get any better than that.

You can grab all the sources for this amazing fidget spinner on [Sean]’s GitHub, or check out the under-monetized demo video he made below.

43 thoughts on “Hackaday Prize Entry: The Arduino Powered LED Persistence Of Vision Rechargeable 3D Printed Fidget Spinner

    1. Disregarding the added weight of the energy-harvesting hardware, drawing enough power to reliably run this thing would make it stop spinning very quickly. Ever try to manually spin the shaft of a DC motor? It’d be like that.

      1. DC motor with nothing connected? Easy. DC motor with a load? Like a charging circuit? Nope, will stop in no time.

        Also quite fun is shorting leads of a stepper and trying to rotate it.

        Also quite interesting is taking a look at regen braking. It’s essentially brushless motors switched in a certain way. We have a demo over here at work (automotive) where you can turn such a motor designed for hybrid vehicles by a handle. And there’s two switches next to it to turn on a 50W bulb, a 100W bulb or both. Really interesting to see, how much more force a measly 150W require to turn the motor over.

        1. All it would need to power is an arduino, a few sensors, and some LEDs. A brushless motor with a good axel could even work off-the shelf. The only constraint may be size.

          1. Don’t underestimate the power of regen braking. The demo i talked about is a full size electric motor for cars, powered by a human. Trying to generate power for a puny 50W bulb makes said human work a lot harder than with no load connected.

            You have to remember that a fidget spinner doesn’t have too much of a mass. It’s probably similar to quadcopter motors/props, there are ESCs out there that do regen braking to improve maneuverability. They make the prop go from full blast to stopped at the flick of a finger. The same thing is going to happen with the spinner as soon as you try to harvest energy from the rotation.

  1. Missing IoT but overall good use of buzzwords. I know spinners are mostly a bad joke around here but this is a legitimately cool project showcasing a well done application of several technologies. +1

  2. Hi… Windell Oskay... I think….

    However, Evil Mad Scientist has a layout and writing structure of what seems to be pretty damn close to exactly Brian Benchoff’s Stylometry:
    His grammatical choices,
    paragraphing style…. And whats more
    He has a Link Dump

    Link dump is like the Hackaday Links

    Can someone link the first HackAday links URL?
    Reason being is some people are “first-event URL collector” enthusiasts and there is a lot of history to go back on… So I’ll likely get the wrong “First” HaD Links URL.

    Also that site seems to be the closest competing site to Hack A Day

    Brian’s Google Plus page about button makes out he ONLY works for Hack A Day (Is this true? SupplyFrame Owners..).

    Brian seems not to have administrative powers on this site as the trolls haven’t been evicted… at all by him.
    Also, I guess Brian only has Editorial only privileges on this site and not SYSADMIN (SupplyFrame is it True?)

    Less people seem to comment on anything (averagely Each time Brian goes off on a Schizophrenic session and troll-baiting session… Both attracting low class comments, trolls, etc and putting off otherwise HaD fans.

    Sounds like sabotage so far…

    Purely observation/skepticism only based on a rough-cut self driven research stub (2nd hand Tin foil hat for sale).

    Will still keep observing Brian for more suspicious activity as this is not quite enough against him (IMHO).

    He’ll surely find something to pick in my write-up/Whistle-blowing report…
    However I’m a buggy GCC compiler spitting out buggy debugging info.

    1. Unferium,

      I’ve seen you comment on most posts by Brian on this crusade that seems to be backed by a select few consistent users that also frequently “contribute” troll comments. Is there some crusade that I’m missing here? I’ll be the first to admit I find Brian’s post to be hit or miss, but the persistent attacks on him I find to be appalling. Why is hating everything he does the current HaD zeitgeist? Sincerely asking in earnest.

      1. He should of took a complement-as-an-apology and not back-lashed.
        He seems out of place here and it is only a recent few posts of Brian’s that I have directed trolling at him.

        Other troll-esque things were tests of certain character…

        Even notarealemail guy (assuming they’re all as one…) spotted the plan on:
        this article

        Though he maybe on about the offset post…

        Something told me that guy maybe a Benchoff with a better article… The style was sorta similar… but a miss.

        Later I thought nothing more of it and commented somewhat constructively as I did on Benchoff’s other articles back then.

        I’d suspected someone to try sabotage as soon as Joe-public got hired for articles.

        Jenny List gives quite a variety without looking/writing low quality. Even the stuff that only interests a few are too high quality to offend someones’ eyes as they try to scroll past… If anything the quality attracts the eyes. Nothing bad at all there. Playground banter: Brian’s beaten by a woman!!!*

        Mike… Well good as always

        Al Williams… Ha lol… He sometimes encourages non-constructive arguments. However he does it in a way that helps keep said arguments mostly on-topic in such a way as to extract opinion about the topic and not him (Selflessness from Al Williams angle)

        Hmmffffff…. exhausted, long day at work… weekend’s here. I won’t go on further.

        *Stereotypical playground talk… so to speak. IMHO: got arms, legs and common sense with a brain attached… Then you’re just as capable irrespective of Gender, race, culture, blah, blah, something dark side.

  3. …mumble grumble peanut butter mumble animated images grumble grumble two freakin’ wasted megs grumble mumble grumble…


    …mumble mumble kids these days grumble mumble mumble…

  4. Well done!
    Okay, now, no one will ever outdo this one, ever. We have reached the pinnacle of fidget spinners.
    That being the case, make them all go away now. All. Of. Them.


        1. Thought:
          Hmmm, will this amuse me whilst annoying others? Maybe…

          I plan on going into a crowded area, lets say a ticket room in railway rush-hour, then starting the spin, then throwing and catching the thing by the bearings whilst seeing how close to the ceiling I can get… And how close to a blown fuse or two in socially upstanding people I can get.

          Yep it requires thought and planning.

        2. It didn’t take any thought or planning thought to carry one around to fit in with the craze, though.

          I think pet rocks are a more suitable analogy, though. Or maybe Tamagotchi, Furby, sippy birds, Newton’s cradles, squeezy stress dolls, etc.

          Or the Baoding balls that have been a fad for hundreds of years and serve the exact same purpose as fidget spinners/cubes.

  5. Considering it’s a pretty stock POV implementation, this in no way redeems fidget spinners as anything but evil unnecessary ruining the fabric of our yoots every-one-of-them-needs-to-be trashed awefulness…

    1. With said fidget spinner flashing up “FAO Brian Benchoff”

      Unless said fidget spinners were also DDOS botnets that need spinning for a few days to get enough uW charge in its supercap and that botnet targets any non-hackaday site that the real person behind Benchoff owns or runs in any way.

  6. This is a fidget spinner I actually would be interested in. I have a toy I picked up for a couple of bucks fifteen years ago called an “iTop” (which now sells used for ridiculous prices on ebay and Amazon) which does similar things in a spinning top form factor. The maximum spin count game is actually a lot of fun when you’re hanging out with friends at a bar. Unfortunately, the drunker you get the more likely the top is to go skidding off the table and get lost or stepped on… the captive nature of the fidget spinner solves that problem.

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