Fidget Spinner Inventor

If you don’t have kids you might not have heard about fidget spinners.¬†Fidget spinners are the latest toy craze that’s being marketed for kids with ADHD and autism. But it seems like even kids without ADHD are buying them.

Fidget spinners have two or three blades attached with ball bearings to a button in the middle. When you squeeze the button and spin them they continue spinning between your fingers. Some say they calm or distract the user, but many schools are banning them for being more distracting to the kids around them. Some people, including teachers, think they are a good solution for distracting fidgety students. Some think kids could be better occupied by keeping their minds on other things.

As an inventor, what makes me sad is that the woman who invented the product isn’t profiting from the craze. Getting and maintaining a patent can be a very expensive endeavor. Hettinger’s patent was issued four years after it was filed and came up for renewal in 2005, but she wasn’t able to afford the $400 that was required to renew the patent, and protection for it lapsed.

After getting her patent she met with toy company Hasbro, and they turned her down after their market testing of it failed. But they have recently begun selling the new version of the product. This just goes to show you that, as an inventor you should never give up on your idea, even if everyone turns you down. If you build the product into a fad, trust me, those same people will come around.

Like all inventors, Hettinger was a problem solver. She was inspired after hearing about young boys throwing rocks at police in Israel, and wanted to come up with a way to calm and distract kids.

In the beginning she started manufacturing the spinning toys herself in her home with a used machine she bought from a sign maker, and sold them at local fairs in Florida.

Even though she isn’t making money off of her invention, she’s not bitter. Like all inventors she knows she can always put her problem solving brain to work on the next big thing.