Limbo is a spinning top developed by Fearless Toys and recently set the world record for the longest-running mechanical spinning top after spinning continuously for 27 hours, 9 minutes and 24 seconds. Limbo looks like an ordinary spinning top but has a high-tech mechanism that allows it to spin for such a long time.
There are a variety of components inside the metallic toy that work together to make it what it is. These include 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.
The accelerometer detects the direction and spin of the top and an algorithm is used to adjust the power of the motor accordingly. The motor accelerates as soon as it detects a drop in speed and speeds up the mechanical toy as well.
“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!’”
This sounds like a complex system to put inside a tiny toy and Ben-Yehuda admits that it was a big challenge. They were finally able to bring down the weight of the complete mechanism to just 16 grams and managed to cramp it into less than three cubic centimeters of space.
Limbo also has the ability to spin on surfaces that other spinning tops would not be able to and it adjusts its speed according to the surface it is spinning on. What makes it even more special is the fact that it was not specifically made to break the world record but is commercially available.
It is currently a Kickstarter campaign with less than two months to go and has already met its goal of $40,000 four times. You can pledge $49 to get your hands on your very own Limbo as soon as delivery begins. It sounds like fun to fall asleep watching the toy spin and waking up to see it still spinning.
Check it out in the video below: