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The Flipper is a revolutionary – pun intended – new toy: simple, fun to play with, yet technically sophisticated. The technology behind the toy is an innovative revolution counter and register for a rotating body in free space. The Flipper toy is cylindrical in shape, about a foot long, about 1 inch in diameter, weighing only ounces, with contrasting color cushioned hand grips at each end. A freewheeling hub is located at the longitudinal center of the Flipper as means to count revolutions, or flips, in the air. The object of the game of Flipper is to flip it in the air and catch it. Simple. The fun comes with the challenging rules: you must flip and catch the Flipper three times in succession, at stepwise increments of ½ revolution. For example, let’s begin: The first step is ½ flip or ½ revolution. Holding one end of the Flipper, you toss it lightly in the air and catch it by the opposite end grip: that is, at ½ flip. Do this three times. If successful, you increment by 1/2 step, to one whole revolution. Now you toss the Flipper carefully to rotate only one whole turn in the air, and you catch it, this time by the same grip you had held to toss it. After three successful catches in a row, wherein you catch it at exactly one revolution – not ½ and not 1½ - and you do not drop it, you increment to 1½ revolutions and again try to flip and catch it three times in succession. Miss once – catching it at the wrong number of revolutions or letting it hit the ground - at any step, and you start all over at ½ flip!Play it solitaire. Compete with friends for highest revolutions. Compete against time. Swap hands. Variations of play and competition are endless. The future will see ‘professional’ grade Flippers made for extreme competition. Top athletes will flip the Flipper high in the air and far downfield to register tens or perhaps hundreds of revolutions. The tubular body of the Flipper is made of lightweight PVC or other plastic. At the longitudinal center is a near friction-free hub assembly, adapted from models of hub odometers used on large trucks. The hub assembly uses precision balanced, ceramic permanent magnets for near frictionless movement between hub and hub housing. The hub remains stationary during flight while the hub housing rotates, solidly attached to the Flipper body. An optical sensor registers passage of the rotating body around the relatively stationary hub. An electronic display (onboard or wireless remote) indicates revolutions completed, at ½-revolution accuracy. Electronic circuits and display assemblies are solid state, lightweight, with low energy consumption for hours of use without battery replacement. The Flipper is inexpensive to manufacture, safe for children and adults of all ages (recommended for ages 5 and up, unless supervised), and an excellent source of hand-eye coordination development and practice. Challenging yet fun, the Flipper will be a sensation.


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    Steven Walk
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