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Manhattan Toy Blog

Skwish - A Tensegrity Toy Invention

The inventor of the Skwish, Tom Flemons, began working with tensegrity principles in the early 80's and built the first prototype of the Skwish in 1981. At that time he named it the Sqhere, which was a mashup of square and sphere.

"About the name: A 2 year old girl named Gaia came up with the name in 1987. She couldn't pronounce my previous name Sqhere and said something like "skish" so I adopted her much better choice. Nice to have your toy named by the earth mother in child's clothing..."

Manhattan Toy acquired the Skwish back in 1997, and has since sold millions of them worldwide. In fact, the Skwish is so well known, it is even playing a role in the design of NASA's prototype for a Super Ball Bot that can land on Mars! Just like the Skwish, NASA's Super Ball Bot uses the principles of tensegrity so it can absorb the impact of a hard landing, then roll across a surface like a ball. 

NASA super ball bot

Tom is still in the field of tensegrity and is currently working on new advances in Biotensegrity with anatomical models. You can find out more about him on his company's website http://www.intensiondesigns.com/

Citations:

Aug 16 2010 via tensegritywiki.com/Skwish

Dec 27, 2013 via https://www.theverge.com/2013/12/27/5246498/nasas-next-robot-rover-squishes-like-a-childs-toy

Sept. 10, 2014 via https://www.nasa.gov/content/super-ball-bot