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Spinners and Cubes: The Rise of the Fidgety Gadgets
May 7, 2017

The newest trend in gadgets doesn’t even need power.

I’m sure you’ve seen them around: spinners and cubes and other small things that are now commonly referred to as ‘fidgety gadgets’. It suddenly became an alternative for people who keep pushing buttons or clicking their pens or tapping fingers on their tables. It was originally designed for kids, but as you can see even adults already own some of these gadgets.

There are various kinds of these fidgety gadgets: a spinner that resembles a triangular wheel that smoothly spins around, a small cube that has buttons and switches that you can press and flick to your heart’s content.

These gadgets don’t even cost much – 10 AED of even 5 AED in the small shops you can find around Dubai. And while they’re considered gadgets, they don’t need any form of electricity and instead relies on kinetic energy to deliver its purpose. Think of it as the present day yo-yo or those small stringed drums you used to ask your mom when you were a child.

The rise of popularity of such devices stems from the fact that most gadgets nowadays hardly require any buttons. Think for example the smartphone, excluding the physical power and volume buttons most of the functions are already accessed through the touchscreen. This means that the lack of buttons somehow feels lacking because of the missing physical aspect to it.

It became a concern as well for some, which is why most devices nowadays use haptic feedback to simulate the feel of pressing a button. Most Android smartphones already do this when you type on the keyboard, and the iPhone 7 and the recently released Galaxy S8 already employ haptic feedback on their home buttons for the same ‘clicky’ feeling when pressing it.

Maybe that is why some people still preferred the old school keyboard offered by the BlackBerry. And judging by the early review of its new KEYone smartphone, everyone still loves the physical QWERTY keyboard. The same goes when using older mobile phones – remember how many times you need to press a letter to type a word? It’s a long process but still incredibly satisfying.

But as more of these fidgety gadgets evolve, more and more users will have reasons to keep buying and using them – or maybe it’s time for buttons and switches to come back to our gadgets?

by vportiz
Tech Enthusiast and Movie Buff. Has passion for all things tech - you’ll normally find him tinkering with the latest gadgets and computer peripherals. He is an avid collector of DVDs and Blu-ray discs, and recently discovered his love for gaming. Follow him on Twitter at @vp_ortiz17