Limbo, a spinning top developed by Fearless Toys, was recently recognized by the World Guinness Book of Records as the world’s longest-running mechanical spinning top after spinning continuously for a whopping 27 hours, 9 minutes and 24 seconds.
Limbo may look like an ordinary spinning top, but it actually houses a high-tech mechanism that allows it to spin for hours on end. Hidden inside the metallic toy – if you can even call it that – are a variety of components that work together to make the magic happen – a special asymmetric flywheel motor, a high-end motion sensor, a rechargeable battery and an advanced system-on-a-chip that constantly monitors Limbo’s stability and applies dozens of motion corrections every second to keep it spinning.
As Digital Trends explains, the built-in accelerometer inside Limbo detects the direction and spin speed of the top and uses an algorithm to adjust the power of its motor accordingly. When the sensor detect a drop in speed, the motor accelerates and so does Limbo.
“What makes Limbo so magical is its ability to learn and adapt to the surface it’s spinning on,” said Tom Ben-Yehuda, chief technology officer at manufacturer Fearless Toys Ltd. “It was surprising even for us to witness how clever the control algorithms proved to be. We’ve tried to spin it on some really crazy objects. The first time we spun Limbo on a tomato it was really confused, but in a few seconds time the algorithm figured out the surface and it was like, ‘yeah, I can do that!'”
The mechanism that allows Limbo to spin for over 27 hours sounds pretty complex, and Ben-Yehuda admits that incorporating it inside such a tiny toy was a huge challenge. Ultimately, they brought the weight of the mechanism down to just 16 grams and managed to squeeze it into less than three cubic centimeters of space.
Another interesting feature is Limbo’s ability to spin on a variety of surfaces that other spinning tops will not, and to adjust its speed according to the surface it’s spinning on.
But what’s truly great about this amazing spinning top is that it’s not just a prototype developed to break the world record, but a commercially available product that is currently being crowdfunded on Kickstarter. With 52 days to go of its campaign, Limbo has already breezed through its $40,000 goal. At the time of this writing, 2,331 backers had pledged nearly $180,000 to Limbo.
You can currently pre-order Limbo by pledging at least $49 on Kickstarter. Then you’ll be able to fall asleep watching it spin and wake up to it still spinning.