Levitron is a brand of toys and gifts in the Science and Education markets owned in the United States by Creative Gifts Inc. and Fascination Toys & Gifts. The gyroscope is a commercial toy that demonstrates the phenomenon of levitation known as rotation stabilized (in) magnetic levitation .


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  • 1 Other versions
  • 2 The device
    • 1 Use
    • 2 Invention and patents
  • 3 References
  • 4 Sources

Other versions

There are even other versions of floating and rotating globes, a spaceship, a VW Beetle, and even photos that float using the same mechanism. [1] 750,000 units were sold in the United States between 1994 and 1999. [2]

The device

The toy basically consists of a permanent magnetic spinning top or top that rotates levitating on a ring-shaped magnetic base . This transforms it into a kind of gyroscope . To compensate for the force of gravity and the counter magnetic force, it has rings as counterweights that must be placed patiently until a certain balance is achieved. For perfect stabilization of the levitation process, there are functional parameters such as the weight and speed of rotationof the spinning top, which are essential to achieve a good balance and achieve levitation. Using the principles of magnetic field and gyroscopic stabilization , Levitron teaches how to levitate your spinning top by showing a series of interactive steps.

The stabilization of rotation of the top that levitates, gradually undergoes a natural and gradual loss in turn in speed, so that the phenomenon of levitation, in this natural form, lasts for a period of four minutes, unless it is provide external energy to help sustain rotation, which is possible using the Levitron Perpetuator.

In order to achieve levitation, you can help with a transparent plastic cover that is placed on top of the large magnetic base, the top is rotated on that cover with an average rate of 25 to 50 rotations per second (1500-3000 RPM ) . If the rotation speed is too slow, the spinning top will fall on top and slide to one side; if instead it is not too fast to orient itself to follow the magnetic flux then it will move and slide. Since it can be difficult to spin the top quickly by hand, there is a possibility to spin it with a battery powered device that gives you the initial impulse to spin it by driving an electric motor. Then, the clear plastic cover should be lifted by hand slowly up to, and if the conditions of weight and speed are correct, the spinning top will rise and levitate on it, achieving the point of mechanical balance .


The top must be fitted with weight supplements with washers of different sizes and prices that come with the kit. If it is too heavy, it does not lift on the plastic cover, and if it is too light, it will fly up and then to the side.

After a few minutes, the spinning top drops when the air friction slows it down below the critical speed. Temperature and drafts, ground vibration, and power source interruptions also upset the delicate balance required to achieve top spin stability.

More expensive laboratory versions can sustain top spinning indefinitely, actively maintaining top spin compensated by rotation artifacts. The manufacturers of the Levitron have developed a “Perpetuator”, which is placed under the Levitron which sends additional magnetic pulses. The extra force propels the spinning top to spin it enough to maintain a constant speed. With constant speed, and with the Levitron perfectly level, the Levitron spinning top can rotate for much longer periods of time.


Invention and patents

The device that was later called Levitron was originally invented and patented by inventor Roy Harrigan of Vermont. A Seattle businessman found that the patent was in process and in the process of trying to perfect a top that levitated. In that attempt, they borrowed Harrigan’s prototype, analyzing his physics with the help of his father, in which he worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory of USA (of the United States Department of Energy ), then registered a patent for the improvement as his own.


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