Used in everything from commercial airplanes to satellites to the Hubble Space Telescope to probably more than a few of those UFOs that people keep spotting in rural skies around the world, gyroscopes are more than simple toys. But beholding one in action — whether fully understanding the gravity-defying physical forces at work or not — can be a thrilling experience for the new-to-the-world child and the jaded scientist, alike.
The Precision Gyroscope is a new take on an old favorite that can be used to educate — or just simply amaze — friends, family, students, or passers-by who find themselves unable to escape your enthusiasm for showing them this nifty little doodad.
The Precision Gyroscope: More Than Just a Toy
Taking its cue from spinning top toys that had been around since antiquity, the first real gyroscope was invented in the mid-19th century as an experiment to figure out how the Earth rotated. Further modifications practically applied its concepts to navigation aboard ships that sailed the sea and, eventually, crafts that would soar in the skies and space above.
The first gyroscope I remember seeing was as a kid back in the ’50s. Though introduced as a toy way back in 1917, it became very popular during my childhood as humanity geared up for the space race and science was very much in the forefront of our collective consciousness. Seeing something like this in action before my very eyes — seemingly defying the laws of physics as I was used to seeing them in the world around me — prompted a desire within me to figure out how such a thing could exist.
Similar to the Precision Gyroscope featured here, this simple device defied gravity and provided hours of entertainment for children and adults alike.
Like the Original Gyroscope Toy — Only Better
The spin on the original gyroscope toy was achieved by pulling a string, but this could prove problematic if not done just so (not to mention the eventuality of the string’s knotting and breaking). This Precision Gyroscope can still be spun with a string if you prefer to do things the old-fashioned, messy way, but there’s an included plastic ripcord that avoids the pitfalls of its predecessor if you’d like an easier time of it.
In addition, the Precision Gyroscope itself is made of plastic (which is lighter than the old-school metal version), and it features ball bearings that allow the gyroscope to spin for a longer period of time.
The new design allows for more angled tilting, better balance, and increased spin rate.
The Precision Gyroscope may stimulate a genuine curiosity in science when used by the youthful, but it may even awaken a desire to explore the world’s wonders in those of us who have forgotten that everything’s not always as simple as it seems. What a universe!