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Published: Wednesday, 11/16/2005

Giant 'Yo-Yo' puts users up in the air

BY KARAMAGI RUJUMBA
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Matt Mossing, 13, of St. Joan of Arc School hits the top of the BOYO. That's about 13 feet off the ground. Matt Mossing, 13, of St. Joan of Arc School hits the top of the BOYO. That's about 13 feet off the ground.
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Jamie Friderichs grabbed a handlebar attached to an elastic cord suspended from a 23-foot tower and pushed herself off the ground.

The contraption sprung her upward, but not high enough. She pushed off again and went a bit higher, and even higher the third time.

But on the fourth try the handle slipped from her hands, and she landed on her feet on a padded mat.

"It was awesome," an exhilarated Jamie, 11, exclaimed to a group of her cheering friends. She was one of the many first-timers who yesterday experienced the thrill of the BOYO, the latest permanent attraction at COSI in downtown Toledo.

BOYO, a silver metallic frame supported by two beams and two 50-pound discs at the top, is described as an upside-down jumbo Yo-Yo by COSI officials, who explained that the structure shows how mechanical energy can be used for elevation.

"It is really simple. You pull down on the rope, and it stores your energy in the fulcrum on the top and then pulls you up with that energy," said Carl Nelson, COSI's director of exhibits and facilities.

The BOYO, above, shows how mechanical energy can be used to gain elevation. The BOYO, above, shows how mechanical energy can be used to gain elevation.
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The BOYO, which was designed in Israel, is one of only two such devices in the United States, and the only indoor version of the giant toy so far manufactured. It can propel someone up to 13 feet in the air, he said.

"It almost feels like bungee jumping, but this is better," Alex Anton, 11, told a group of his friends from St. Joan of Arc School who gathered to talk about their experiences.

"It's harder than it looks," said Alex Graf, 12, noting that she thought it was easier to spring higher on the cord "the taller you are."

But Lori Hauser, COSI's director of operations, said there are no weight and height limits for visitors who would like to try the BOYO. The only restriction is age - no children younger than 7 years are allowed on BOYO.

More than 900 children ranging in age from kindergarten through junior high school were at COSI yesterday for the unveiling of the new toy, Ms. Hauser said.

She said COSI received funding from the Ohio Cultural Facilities Commission and Duncan Toys Inc. to defray the $60,000 installation cost. COSI researchers, who are always on the lookout for new and exciting games and toys, saw BOYO on a Web site of exhibit developers, Mr. Nelson said.

Steve Brown, a national Yo-Yo master employed by Duncan Toys, the manufacturer of Yo-Yos, was on hand to do Yo-Yo tricks and demonstrations for visitors. As he twisted his Yo-Yo in all kinds of directions, he looked at the BOYO and said, "I think I want one of these in my backyard."

Contact Karamagi Rujumba at:

krujumba@theblade.com or

419-724-6064.



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