Puzzlemaster Oskar van Deventer, also known as the creator of YouTube channel OskarPuzzle, has the answer — and it’s geekily awesome. What van Deventer has created is something he calls the “Geared Whiplash.” It’s basically a yo-yo gearing contraption comprised of a snake of interlinked gear elements, which can be coiled up compactly or whipped out into a long chain.
“Geared Whiplash is a chain of gears connected to a handle,” van Deventer told Digital Trends. “Gear 0 is integrated with the handle. Gear 1 turns around the gear 0, gear 2 turns around gear 1, et cetera. This way there is acceleration in the system, where gear 2 turns 2 times faster than gear 1, [and] gear 3 turns 3 times faster. So the gear at the end turns super-fast, hence the name ‘whiplash.’”
Once the whipping motion is over, the contraption rolls up again so the sequence can be repeated.
“The inspiration came from a Swedish friend who wanted to have something flexible with joints,” van Deventer continued. “I have lots of fun with gears, so I tried to make something with gears. While Geared Whiplash is not a solution to my friend’s challenge, I thought that it would be fun to build like a piece of kinetic art. I first built a motorized version, but playing with the parts I discovered that I could also move it manually like a whip. So I attached a handle, resulting in the manual version.”
So what’s the point of it? Almost certainly nothing, other than tactile amusement. That doesn’t stop it from being pretty nifty, though — and exactly the kind of plaything that would be immensely fun to fiddle with as we sit at our desks.
Unfortunately, right now it’s not exactly the most affordable of fidget toys. They’re being sold via van Deventer’s website, but expect to pay upwards of $100 for a custom 3D-printed model. Prices could well come down in the near future, however.
“Hopefully [I’ll] find a toy producer some day who wants to take it into production,” he concluded. “Until then, there is only the 3D-printed version.”
Or this fascinating mathematical emulation created by one Julian Poon. Just in case you like your gear-based yo-yos with a few equations thrown in for good measure.