What is an Aerobie®?

Andy Josiah
Andy Josiah
Man with hands on his hips
Man with hands on his hips

An Aerobie® is a toy shaped like a ring for flinging from one person to another. In this respect, it is similar to a Frisbee®, although the latter is designed as a disc, not a ring. The toy consists of a polycarbonate core with soft rubber bumpers lining its inner and outer rims, as well as a spoiler on its outer rim for aerodynamic stability.

Alan Adler, a mechanical engineering lecturer at Stanford University, invented the Aerobie®. Adler had thought about improving the performance of flying discs such as the Frisbee® since the 1970s. He eventually abandoned the disc shape for the ring design to reduce drag, which resulted in the Aerobie®'s predecessor, the Skyro. A few more years of development finally produced the Aerobie® in 1984. With an added spoiler, the toy was able to travel at faster speeds with relative stability.

Adler's creation can be bent so that it achieves flight in a straight line. The ring can also fly in a curve by being flung at a slant. Regarding lift, throwing the Aerobie® in the wind makes it achieve a higher flight, while flinging it with the wind lowers it.

Over the years, people have used the Aerobie® as exercise equipment, making it the centerpiece of several recreational games. One of them, Aerosticks, involves catching the flung ring with sticks. Another one, Aerogoal, is based on the characteristics and principles of soccer.

The Aerobie®'s ability to fly faster and farther than flying discs has enabled it to set unprecedented achievements. Its prototype, the Skyro, could go as far as 856 feet (about 261 m). On 14 July 2003, however, the Aerobie® shattered the Guinness World Record for the "longest throw of an object without any velocity-aiding feature," when Erin Hemmings hurled a refined version of the ring called the Aerobie® Pro for a distance of 1,333 feet (about 406 m).

Despite its advantages, the Aerobie® also has its shortcomings. For starters, it cannot float, and it will lose speed if thrown at a high angle. Also, since it travels at longer distances than flying discs do, it is much easier to lose.

Aerobie® is also the name of the company that Adler founded with the invention of the toy itself. Originally known as Superflight, Inc., Alder later changed it to Aerobie, Inc. Since then, the company has spawned more of Adler's inventions. Perhaps the most popular one after the flying ring is the Aeropress®, a coffee brewing device that Adler invented in 2005.

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