knucklebone - the original hardbody knuckle roller
AO2's Knucklebone is the original hardbody knuckle roller. This is a simple skill toy that is manipulated with the fingers of one or both hands to perform tricks and patterns, or simply to pass the time. It is very discrete (unless dropped) and can be played in very restricted spaces, and in contexts where other showier skill toys may not be appropriate. The kbone is an extraordinarily ergonomic design, with perfect rounding and transitions between sections. What makes the kbone so unique is that it bridges the space between an absent minded fidget toy, and a full blown skill toy. With its smooth curves, it functions very naturally as a kind of worry stone, which can be just gripped and passed around in the hand absent-mindedly. But when players have more attention to spare and want a challenge, there are a wide array of creative tricks and patterns that can be woven as the kbone passes fluidly between the hands and fingers. Players that are familiar with begleri play, balisong manipulation, or pen spinning, will find many of the movements familiar, and will be able to adapt some of their trick repertoire to the kbone. But the broadest array of tricks comes when players begin to explore the unique properties of the kbone itself, the short statured, the rounded ends, the unique weight distribution, all of which lend themselves to interesting and surprising manipulations that are entirely unique in the skill toy world. There are a handful of tutorials already available online at the AO2 YouTube channel, with more being added on a steady schedule. See below for more!
Aroundsquare's founder Matt Hiebert developed the original knucklebone circa 1989 as a kid in school, as something to keep his hands busy during class... he had a tendency to get in trouble for standing up and doing yo-yo tricks during class, and he figured something a little more discrete might be in order. This was long before other related hobbies like begleri had hit the scene, and even pen spinning was not yet popular, and he wanted something that offered the versatility of a skill toy, without serious risk of drops or attracting unwanted attention from teachers. The original prototype remained unnamed, but it survived, stashed away in an old box of toys, until it was unearthed again in 2016. As begleri and other small EDC toys like pocket tops and fidget spinners were gaining popularity AO2 saw a great opportunity to revive and refresh the old design. Flexible knuckle rollers were just starting to circulate online at the time, but there was nothing in the solid state. Within months of the first online appearance of AO2's Knucklebones, other solid state knuckle rollers began to proliferate, and the knuckle roller community is now exploding with new ideas, talented players, and community hubs on social media sites.