Kickstarter spotlight: Twiddle Spin – a tool, a toy, a life randomizer
The Twiddle Spin sits at an intersection of several things I find interesting. It’s a tool, it’s a set of dice, it’s something to randomize your life, it’s a fidget spinner (couple of years late on this fad), you can potentially erase credit cards with it, use the halves for a hamster’s wheelchair, trigger a cell phone’s compass and really the only limit, similar to what zombo.com explains, is your imagination.
I had two interests when I requested this this – using it with a phone as a smart trigger, and coming up with a reason to explain the Penny Walk to someone.
TL;DR – you can trigger your phone with this and Tasker (or similar,) and Paul writes a lot about randomizing life choices and exiting your comfort zone based on playing with the Twiddle Spin.
That part of the recipe blog where someone discusses their entire life when you just want to know if you need brown sugar
A long time ago in another life I used to be a semi-professional improvisational comedian for eight years. That is to say I got paid for performing and at least didn’t ever come out in the negative. This was something I was really interested in doing, I took classes and attended festivals in Austin, Kansas City, Chicago, seems like somewhere else in the US, and I ran into several people who had turned improv into their business.
One of the largest problems that was being addressed by at least a couple of these business improvisational comedians was teaching people (usually CEOs,) to make choices they wouldn’t normally make. To exit their comfort zones.
One of the instructors I had at I believe the Big Stinkin’ Improv and Sketch Comedy Festival #2 or 3 in Austin, Texas in the late 90’s regularly taught CEOs and business people how to add improvisation into their overly safe, selected, and regimented lives with a thing called a Penny walk. The idea behind that is just go downtown, use a coin and flip it, and let that guide you until you finally reached a destination.
The idea was you’re conditioned to take the safe choices because you’ve survived them and getting out of your comfort zone was required to make some progress. When given the choice, you tend to make the safe one. Randomizing choices and following through (in certain circumstances,) results in at least experiencing something new and at best a great new experience or tale of overcoming an obstacle.
This particular use case is where I think the Twiddle Spin shines. It’s a tool, it’s a toy, keep it with you and it can make those choices that you just won’t make. You want to play spin the bottle? It can do that. You want to select from 6 possible things or use it as a die? It can do that. Do you want to sit silently and stare at a spinning piece of metal? Game’s on chief. Need to skip a hunk of metal into someone’s face? Yikes.
But it’s more than that, and you can do the above with a coin or a $0.58 pair of dice so don’t think I’m saying that the Twiddle Spin is the only method to do this. It’s a well designed pocketable analog randomizer that travels well.
With the Twiddle Spin you get a few circular plates that some are blank, and some have text on them. There are several little magnetic balls included that you can spin around the Twiddle Spin and what it lands on, there’s your choice. There’s a pointer attachment as well if you want to play spin the bottle or which direction shall I set out from this bar in? You can also use it a a die, or pretty much anything with up to six choices by using the metal balls.
The Twiddle Spin feels good in your hands, you can flip it like a heavy coin, its spinner-ability is pretty decent although the lighter weight tends to make me long for the good ol’ pre-pandemic fidget spinners.
Are we learning about cake now or Carol’s bad life choices in an effort to rig the page’s bounce rate?
One of the things I was interested in doing here was looking at a non-RFID trigger mechanism for your phone. You can do that but it isn’t particularly as useful as I would have expected. Or perhaps my imagination is limited. The magnets that are built into the inner housing can trigger events, but with both halves of the Twiddle Spin looking the same that use case requires a sharpie and yields at most two options for a physical token.
As such my great Android automation event with a locked phone did not happen as intended.
I do worry about the neodymium magnets and credit card stripes as the magnet is evident even when it’s closed.
Paul finds problems with everything
The Twiddle Spin, for what it is (well crafted dice,) is pretty cool. There’s a thing about highly machined metal and choice randomizers that seems to be my jam. The problem I find here exists with the real-world transportation of the unit. The box it comes in, cool, it holds everything. It’s a box, it’s not a particularly carry friendly box in my opinion.
I normally hate carrying bags for things like earbuds, but that’s what it needs. A tiny little case or carrying bag where you can tote around all the choice wheels and at least a couple of extra balls because they’re going to get lost. You will flick a magnet ball somewhere and lose it, I guarantee.
I guess if you’re going out and you know the up to 3 plates you’re going to want to bring, you’re set. But I’d like to bring the whole shebang personally just in case a random game of D&D breaks out and needs a Spin The Bottle dungeon where there’s a game of Roulette and then Chutes and Ladders. Eh, I probably overplan/pack. I really do feel like if you get the stuff separated on this you might never reunite it.
Checking the kickstarter page evidently they’ve heard loud and clear the carry pouch request.
The weight of the Twiddle Spin is a little too light for a proper fidget spinner. You’re getting maybe 15 seconds on this if you’re lucky. The bearings sound great, but without the weight to maintain inertia it slows too quickly.
The tiny little metal balls put this in the keep away from smaller children category. They will snort them.
The only limit is your imagination. I imagined the key ring was a spin the bottle/which direction shall I stumble from this bar pointer. Evidently it’s a key ring.
It appears the kickstarter is funded but the stretch goals will allow more things and early birds probably get something.