It’s a tradition for my family to attend the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. We like seeing (and sitting in) all the new vehicles and checking out the concept cars. Plus, it’s a bright, colorful way to escape the cold of January in Michigan.
One of the things we’ve enjoyed about the auto show the last couple years are the Hoberman spheres in the Lincoln exhibit area. The spheres hang from the ceiling and are constantly expanding and contracting, to the delight of children and adults who gather to take pictures and videos of the spheres.
When my son was young, one of his favorite toys was a Hoberman sphere. He would collapse the multi-colored sphere, expand it, and chase after it when we rolled it across the living room floor.
As he got older, he lost his fascination with it.
But I didn’t.
When we had a garage sale several years ago, he put it in the pile of toys to sell. “ Oh no,” I said. “ That’s one toy we’re going to keep, ” as I quickly moved it to the closet in his room.
It’s still one of my favorite toys to play with.
Chuck Hoberman, an artist and engineer, patented the sphere in 1990. Interesting background: he studied sculpture and then mechanical engineering. He said the design came out of a study of transformation.
You can learn more about his invention at Lincoln’s Movement by Design.