We're product and game designers. In 2016, we launched our invention Fidget Cube, which went on to become the second most-backed project on Kickstarter. We quickly found ourselves facing a global wave of counterfeits, which opened our eyes to the crazy world of intellectual property and knockoffs. We've since released Marvel-licensed Fidget Cubes, additional desk toys, and are now venturing into the world of tabletop games.

Proof: https://twitter.com/antsylabs/status/1181313306105040897


Ask us anything!

Our most recent project is a party game that's loosely based on our experience making Fidget Cube, and it's on Kickstarter now: Fidget Factory

Edit: Wowza. Thank you everyone for all of the questions! We're heading out for a bit to grab some dinner, but will be back later this evening to try to answer some more questions.

Comments: 565 • Responses: 21  • Date: 

NOT_AN_APPLE181 karma

What sides did you envision the Fidget Cube having that didn't make the cut?

MarkMcLachlan250 karma

We played around with the idea of a trap door mechanism that would interact with the opposite side of the cube when opened/closed. We were quite fond of this side in particular, but scrapped it along the way due to engineering/manufacturing concerns.

TheStarlightNinja164 karma

What drew you to the idea of a fidget cube? Are you both sort of fidgety? Do either of you happen to have ADHD?

MarkMcLachlan217 karma

We both fidget a ton. Neither of us have been (officially) diagnosed with ADHD, but as we set out to design Fidget Cube a big appeal to us was the possibility that it might have helped us personally with our ability to focus while working.

foodbringer153 karma

What is your favorite/most used side of the cube?

MarkMcLachlan219 karma

It's gotta be the Flip side for me. We spent a stupid amount of time on that particular mechanism to get it to feel just right.

LinoleumDoll82 karma

Clicking roll ball is my favorite. And from the bottom of my heart, I do really want to tell you guys thank you for coming up with a product that can help with physical anxiety. I've bought and given at least 25 of them to family and friends and everyone is always so grateful! ♡♡♡

MarkMcLachlan59 karma

Thank you! Seriously made my day hearing that you've found it to be helpful. :)

Strummed_Out15 karma

Just curious on how stupid is a stupid amount? Days? Weeks? Months?

MarkMcLachlan39 karma

It's something that we refined over the years that we spent designing Fidget Cube, but during our first weeklong visit with our manufacturer leading up to mass production, it was the most talked about side of the lot when it came to the tactile nature of all of them.

Even after spending a week with our manufacturer going through countless iterations (most of which they couldn't initially tell the differences between), we still fixated on perfecting it over the course of at least a few more iterations once we were back in the office at home.

Hard to quantify exactly... can I just stick with stupid amount?

molohunt41 karma

Why did it take over a year after i funded the kickstarter to receive one of the cubes, And on top of that, Why did i see them in my local Walmart being commerically sold before i received my backers fidget cube? Not trying to troll or anything its been years but thats always been a question on my mind and has actually stopped me from purchasing any future products. I still have my cube beside me and fidget every few days my hands find it. every button works fine, great product. Not so great release.

MarkMcLachlan27 karma

I'm sorry to hear that it took that long for you to receive your Fidget Cube. Counterfeit Fidget Cubes were of course being sold globally prior to us officially shipping, but we took steps to ensure that our distribution partners were not shipping to or selling legitimate product prior to us shipping all backer rewards in Q1/Q2 2017.

I'm glad to hear that you're still using your Fidget Cube, and I hope that we can earn back your trust in the future.

Aycoth36 karma

What was the most surprising thing that y'all found out about IP theft and knockoffs?

MarkMcLachlan90 karma

That our system is in no way designed to handle the world we live in today.

I can simply scan an object and have a 3D model generated from it or send a photo of an unreleased object to a manufacturer who can replicate it within hours. Meanwhile, the USPTO will take up to years to review legitimate applications.

MeowyMuse31 karma

I am one of your original backers! I thought it was a brilliant idea and it made me so sad to see y’all lose potential profit from all the counterfeits. What would you do differently if you had to do it again?

MarkMcLachlan28 karma

Thank you for your support, and for coming along for the ride from the beginning!

Once Elon Musk inevitably cracks time travel, our first mission will be to file our entire IP portfolio 4 years before launching.

While we filed for protection of our IP within the appropriate timelines, it takes an obscene amount of time for these applications to be reviewed and approved by governments - both local and international. What that meant for us was that in the early days of Fidget Cube, we had to fight tooth and nail against counterfeiters with a very limited arsenal, simply because we were waiting for piles of documents to be stamped.

That said, it's super tempting to hold onto a list of regrets regarding what we could have done differently. And to be honest, Matthew and I are probably guilty of doing that more often than we'd like to admit. 3 years after putting Fidget Cube out into the world, I'd like to think we're getting a bit better at looking at our journey for what it is and finding peace with how we navigate it.

squid50s27 karma

How'd you originally get the idea for the Fidget Cube?

antsylabsmatt53 karma

During our day jobs we were already fidgeting with pens and bubble wrap, so we decided to make a toy that combined a lot of the things we liked as well as some new ones. Additionally, when we looked to buy fidget toys there really wasn’t one that we felt fit in the workplace as they were mostly marketed towards children.

MarkMcLachlan41 karma

Also, we just like to make stuff. :)

brijoepro22 karma

In addition to the silent edition which has been asked about, have you considered an executive version that’s made of metal and a “luxury model”?

MarkMcLachlan32 karma

Said this in another comment, but our first prototypes of Fidget Cube were actually metal. Due to cost concerns, we ended up going in a different direction.

We'd love to revisit this one day, though!

Pyrochazm16 karma

Do you have two more siblings named Luke and John?

MarkMcLachlan23 karma

If I had a nickel for every time...

zsvx13 karma

do you prefer the cube to a spinner? if one of those isn’t your favorite, what’s your favorite fidget device?

MarkMcLachlan11 karma

Probably not a shocker, but cubez4lyfe.

fuseytheclown10 karma

How do you exactly solve that goddamn thing?

MarkMcLachlan14 karma

Maybe the real puzzle was the friendships we made along the way.

bp11089 karma

As a teacher, why????? Lol. It’s good for the kids that need it but the kids that don’t, ugh.

MarkMcLachlan9 karma

Oh man, it sounds like there are some stories behind that question. ;)

Our wives are both teachers as well, and they've seen advantages to using it in the classroom. But please accept our apologies for those instances where it hasn't been the case in yours!

BBWinATL5 karma

How did y'all feel when the fucking Chinese stole your idea like they steal everything?

MarkMcLachlan7 karma


In all honesty, it's the double-edged sword of manufacturing becoming more attainable by people like us, while legislation and safeguards have not yet caught up with the times. While Chinese manufacturers sparked the counterfeiting, many of the bad actors were US-based individuals and companies.

antoniofelicemunro3 karma

Do you wish you had invented the fidget spinner instead?

MarkMcLachlan9 karma

From our understanding, spinners were around for years before we launched Fidget Cube, though they were never marketed with "fidget" in the name - as far as we can tell.

It's our belief that the advent and success of Fidget Cube sparked the spinner craze that followed shortly after our launch in 2016 (with others tagging "fidget" onto the marketing for those products).

While we as inventors would obviously love to have as many successful inventions to our name as possible, we wouldn't trade our experience with Fidget Cube for anything.


Do you think that the cube actually helped with focus or directed people's attention to a device that engages them but ultimately distracts them more?

MarkMcLachlan8 karma

We were intentional about wanting to make Fidget Cube something that was entirely tactile and didn't require the user to take their eyes off of their work. YMMV, of course, but for me it's been beneficial in this regard, as it allows me to sort of funnel any physical jitters into a tangible tool.

Additionally, we've received countless emails from users who have shared that it has helped them focus throughout their day.

PiGuy1802 karma

When designing the Fidget Cube, did you ever think that the project would progress to a point where various knockoffs were produced, like spinners?

MarkMcLachlan3 karma

We had dreams of having a small stockpile of Fidget Cubes that we'd sell a few a week of for years to come. Prior to launching, Matt and I half-joked that even if it was a complete flop, we'd at least have the prototypes we could show to our grandchildren.

So, no, we didn't really have an idea what was going to happen when we hit launch on the campaign.

SilentSamurai0 karma

If cost was no issue, what would your ideal fidget cube look like?

MarkMcLachlan2 karma

Great question! The first prototypes of Fidget Cube were actually made from metal.

We found a local machine shop to work with on these iterations, and had them CNC a couple units for us (the plan was to die cast the product, but we wanted to first get a sense for how it felt in these materials).

Needless to say, when we got the first quote back, we started looking at other options.