….the in-psi-de sc-hoop

Why PSI?

The word PSI comes from Psychedelic Sensually Interactive hoops

The hoops are Psychedelic, Psionic, and Psychotropic – they Spiral, they are Sensuous (zen-suous?) they engage the Senses (visual, kinesthetic, proprioceptive, emotional and extra-sensory) – they are Interactive, Intense and Illuminating…..so P-S-I.

pronounced “sigh”, or “seye”…the P is psilent!



I couldn’t resist…..cos making these hoops was nuts! Because all the patterns and trails and things that appear are so crazy …I am told that “saiko” means “the best or highest” in Japanese, and also in some slang means “awesome”. (And in England, where they attempted to educate me, psilly puns are usually met with a psi…..)


Sometimes the word appears hyphenated psi-kohoop, or even psi-ko-hoop but usually we spell it psikohoop.




Please see the 2 videos on the home page and also many other FAQs and site info, tutorials etc.

Weight around 10 ounces, give or take an ounce depending on overall size.

All are made using ¾” outside diameter tubing. (not the very thin 5/8” outside diameter).

The tubing can be either a/ hard clear PP   b/ medium PP  c/ HDPE   see the FAQ on tubings further down the list.

The connector is a new type of easy twist connector that I patented and is weatherproof though not completely waterproof (ie don’t submerge the hoop).

There is only one button and it acts as an on/off switch. Its in the connector area and is soft and flush with the surface of the hoop. There is nothing else sticking out of the hoop and no other holes or ports etc.

The hoop has three AAA sized lithium batteries evenly spaced around the hoop so the hoop is balanced and spins perfectly. Charging the hoop is through USB port inside the connector (accessed by twisting the hoop open). There is charger and cable included with the hoop and also a 40 page introductory booklet with pictures to show the basic functions.

The web site has 20 or so more videos to demo the functions and act as tutorials along with the expanded tutorial documents.

The programs, LED strip and electronics of the hoop are all custom designed for this hoop. Merlin of psihoops sold the first LED hoops in the world back in 2005 and in 2007 had the first sequencer hoop, and has worked on this new hoop for over 7 years non-stop.

The hoop has no buttons or keyboard, and all menus, modes, settings and functions are controlled through movement. This may be a first in the world – where the hoop acts as its own interface. It can produce tens or hundreds or thousands or millions of different displays (depending how you look at it). Simple images, words, symbols can appear in space.

You can LOCK any display you like, SAVE it, modify it as to color, pattern, effect speed and so forth.

To change from one display to another you use a flip move (where the hoop revolves at right angles to an isolation, or head over heels if you like).

There are around 20 other signal moves (mostly combinations of flips and isolations/wheel turns) that allow you to control all the functions.

If you turn the hoop on in any of 6 different orientations you access whole new quivers of hoops and new modes.

Some of the displays (we call them hoops) are not motion sensitive (ie they are going through pre-set patterns of fading or strobing or sequencing around the hoop) , other hoops respond to one type of movement (like changing display with angle or speed or if you are hooping around the core compared with doing an isolation) some hoops have different responses to different types of movement (like core hooping, spinning around the arm, isolations, even slow versus chaotic etc)

You can set the changes (for example the rate at which one hoop changes into the next or one color changes to another color, or the speed of the sequence around the hoop) to the music, either by tapping in the beat or flipping in the random quiver.

The whole purpose is to make an interactive responsive instrument that allows you to explore further in your play, dance and performance….and where the controls of the hoop align to the physical properties of this free-wheeling wonder!

For more specs, keep hunting on the website or looking at the facebook site and talking with psikohoop owners or best yet, purchase one and discover as you go…

Should I use PP or HDPE?

These are both quite similar but each has certain advantages and limitations.

PP (polypropylene)
PP (polypropylene) is bouncier – absorbs less of your movement and puts more into the hoop. So it may be better for performance. It’s a bit livelier. It wont kink. It is slightly lighter than the HDPE at the same wall thickness.

PP can crack on severe impact when cold (under 50 degrees), especially if you slam it against concrete or something hard. Even extreme reversals off a shin bone, arm or the back can cause minute cracks when the tubing is cold. Once you have a major crack then the whole hoop can snap with relatively little stress.

PP also gets more brittle with UV exposure….its a vampire material and likes the dark. Don’t leave it lying around in the sunlight, keep it in a case or cloth or hoop bag etc

HDPE (High Density Polyethylene)
Its slightly softer than PP and not as bouncy off the body, so doesn’t feel quite as responsive, but some people prefer this feel. Its durable and not so affected by cold and sunlight. It is opaque so diffuses the light well.

The main limitation of HDPE is that it can kink if hit against a sharp object (a shoe or boot stepping on it, a car door closing on it, a slam reversal on the shin bone, a whack against a wall corner etc). Once kinked it wont completely un-kink but you can squeeze the tube back into a pretty good shape with most kinks and continue to use the hoop, sometimes without any adverse affect. But in this way its more fragile than PP.

Do you have different kinds of PP?

Yes – there is the hard PP (regular PP I have been using in psihoops for years) and a medium PP. This medium PP is slightly more resistant to cracking and slightly less stiff – not quite as responsive as the hard PP (but most people would have a difficult time telling the difference). A safer bet if you will be hooping in the cold weather.

We recommend that you play with some regular hoops made for each of these materials so that you find which type is best for you. Its possible to swap tubing in a psikohoop but it’s a complicated and time consuming process, and so costly. Also you will have to cover the cost of shipping both ways. So best to work out which material and what size first, using other LED hoops or simple hoops.

What about the tinted tubing? Does it affect the color of the lit hoop?

The tinted tubings we use are subtle and mainly affect the look of the unlit hoop. Currently unavailable. If you want me to special order some purple tubing, in medium PP… it does look good, but will cost an extra $20.

How much does a psikohoop weigh?

Depending on size, somewhere between 9 and 12 ounces. So if you are checking a regular hoop to see what material or size would be best, add tape until its around 10 ounces and that will give you a better idea of how it will feel, spin and perform.

I just weighed two new hoops:
33″ diameter from outside edge to outside edge:   303 grams, 10.7 ounces
35″ diameter from outside edge to outside edge:   328 grams, 11.5 ounces

The HDPE tubing I use is actually a fraction heavier than the PP. At around 34 inch outside diameter hoop the HDPE weighs 7.85 ounces and the PP weighs 7.45 ounces. Different extrusions of the tubing may be fractionally different in wall thickness and this will cause the weight to vary very slightly. But in the tubing I use now the difference is that the PP is just under a half ounce lighter (0.4 ounces).

Can I get a psikohoop in the thinner 5/8 OD tubing?

Not at this time. All psikohoops currently being made are with the ¾” outside diameter tubing, which is 5/8 internal diameter (what hardware stores refer to poetically as ½ inch). In order to make this hoop with its unique internal components, continuous light strip and easy twist weatherproof connector, we need to stay with the wider tubing for right now. A future generation will be made from thinner tubing if possible.

How large a hoop should I get?

You need to be able to hold this hoop in both hands in front of you and have it turn vertically away or towards you (in order to control many of the functions) so try that out with one of your hoops and make sure the hoop is not too big to flip.

In general with any hoop, the larger it is, the easier to spin on your waist, legs and chest, and the slower it goes. If a beginner is having trouble keeping a hoop spinning, the easiest solution is to use a bigger/heavier hoop. I have hoops that are 5 or 6 feet in diameter and anyone can instantly hoop with them, no matter what their body size or experience. The larger the hoop, however, the more difficult it is to do off-body moves. The heavier the hoop, the more stress on your wrists and fingers if you do a lot of that kind of move. So it’s a balance or compromise. Its more about style and experience than it is about body shape or size.

As you get more experienced you will be able to hoop with smaller and smaller hoops, but these may not suit your style. If what you most enjoy is a slow spinning hoop around your waist, then staying with a larger hoop will be the thing. If you mostly enjoy fast moving hoops and a lot of hand work, then smaller is better.

Because the psikohoop relies for many of its effects on trails of light, then speed of the hoop is a factor and in general you will want to get as small a hoop as you are comfortable with. Its difficult to change the diameter of a psikohoop once its made, and would involve complete dis-assembly and re-assembly which is time consuming and expensive, so once again its best to first try different sizes using regular hoops or less advanced LED hoops.

What sizes are available?

The psikohoop is somewhat limited in range of size because of its components, connector and tubing width. At present we are making hoops with an outside diameter (outside edge to outside edge) of 24 to 37”. You can ask for the in-between ½ inches as well, or more precisely also give us the circumference (soft tape measure tightly and carefully all the way around the hoop).

If you want a slightly smaller or larger hoop than the above 24 to 37 range, you can email merlin@psihoops.com and ask about that.


I would like a larger psikohoop…above 35″ will it work?

1/ the tubing gets pretty bendy and soft above around 37″…still can do it and it will be fine, but wont hold a perfect circle

2/ a lot of the ways you communicate with this hoop to change displays and work through menus and LOCK a hoop display or save it or change colors etc etc – are moves that are done with the hands, and the smaller the hoop the easier this is.  For example the move that changes from one display to the next is a flip move –flip3 CLICK THIS IMAGE TO SEE THE ANIMATION AND THEN USE THE BACK ARROW TO RETURN HERE………..NOTE: THE VIDEO SHOWS HOLDING THE HOOP WITH THE HANDS BUT YOU CAN USE JUST THE PADS AT THE END OF YOUR LONGEST FINGERS, AND THAT WILL MAKE IT MUCH EASIER WITH LARGER HOOPS ….there are different ways to do this move but the easiest is to hold the hoop in both hands, with one hand at 9 o’clock or on the left of the hoop and the other hand at 3 o’clock or on the right side of the hoop. Then you send the top of the hoop away from your head, the bottom part of the hoop comes toward your legs and you rotate the hoop that way – as long as you can do that without the hoop getting stuck into your body (in other words your arms and fingers have to be long enough to let the hoop turn between the hands and the body, hope that makes sense) then you will be OK. A more difficult way to flip the hoop is to hold it with both hands to the side of your body and have it go through the same movement – the part of the hoop that starts at the top has to travel all the way through the bottom and back to the top (it’s a move that is at right angles to an isolation) so if you can work out a way to do that fairly easily with one of your hoops, you will be able to navigate with this psikohoop.

the isolations are another common signal to change settings but they should not give you trouble, it’s the flip move that concerns me.  Also just strength wise the bigger the hoop the more it will weigh and some of the “signal” moves require a bit of hand strength.

So could you check that with some of your hoops and see how it goes – there are videos in the tutorial sections that will show you the kinds of moves you will have to do to control the settings on the hoop and maybe you could check a couple of those out – like the flip move..

There are other ways of doing a flip move – like stepping through the hoop or having the hoop to the side of the body and using both hands, but they are much more difficult and tricky to incorporate into the signal moves, so please get a size of hoop that works for you to do a regular flip move, even if you have to practice a bit to round the arms and hollow the chest…and use the pads of your fingertips and not the whole hand to turn the hoop.



Should I have the hoop sanded?

The hoop will be sanded on the surface which touches the body, to improve traction. The inside of the tubing (where the LEDs are) is sanded on the PP tubings, to increase light diffusion. If you want a clearer tube where you can see the pinpoint LED light sources, then please email merlin@psihoops.com and specify that. Also if you don’t want the outside surface of the hoop sanded at all, please specify by email when ordering.

Is the psikohoop collapsible?

Short answer – yes. You twist the connector apart and slide the ends of the tubing past each other till you get to the size you want (could be around 20” which fits into a large suitcase or on a backpack or in the overhead compartment of a plane etc), then tape the hoop in a couple places or Velcro it at that size. But you can’t just twist the whole hoop so it folds into two smaller loops, that would damage the connector and the insides.


Is there a warranty?




I am offering a 6 month warranty on the psi-ko-hoop from the date of purchase. The hoops are tested thoroughly before shipping. If there is obvious damage to the hoop when it arrives please notify me immediately at merlin@psihoops.com or 619 921 3544 and we will sort it out with the mail carrier. For other problems, you should keep your receipt and it will be easier if you have the original box. The warranty is supposed to cover defects in workmanship, materials and design, and not extreme or inappropriate use. Not following the instructions in terms of weatherproofing, care of the hoop, opening and closing the hoop, charging the hoop, and so forth, voids the warranty.

Cracks in the tubing will not be covered, unless they are present at the time of receiving the hoop. To crack this PP tubing usually requires cold weather and a lot of force. If you do forceful pinch reversals when the tubing is cold (below around 50 degrees), or drop the hoop onto concrete when its cold, or step on the hoop with shoes, etc… you can put minute stress fractures in the tubing, and then at a later time when you are just hooping normally, the hoop can crack. But in warm conditions and without extreme force, the tubing will last for years. Sunlight will also degrade the tubing and make it more brittle, so if you leave the hoop outside for long periods, the tubing will crack easier and not be so responsive to your movement and touch.   I will replace tubing for $60.  However, if the connector area of the hoop is damaged, it may have damaged the sensors, master board, connections to the switch and USB and that could be an expensive repair, could amount to $150. You will have to pay the shipping back to me, but I will repair the hoop for free provided that you:
a/ haven’t obviously abused the hoop by bending it too far, twisting it in half or squashing it with something, stepping on it with shoes, immersing it in water, leaving it in a sun-baked car and so forth
b/ haven’t removed the connector at either end of the tubing.
c/ haven’t broken the USB port by tripping on the wires or yanking them or forcing the USB port in some way.
i.e I will repair or replace it for six months if it fails under “normal use”, which certainly includes fast and extreme hooping, if done with awareness and sensitivity.
After the six month period I will look at it and give you an estimate for repairs.

Please be advised that I have a patent on these hoops and patents pending.


the connector feels too stiff when disconnecting and connecting, is there anything I can do?

Check pages 3-7 of the booklet (that comes with the hoop).

A lot depends on the exact angle (up and down, and back and forth) as you connect or disconnect. Have the switch facing you and at the top of the hoop. Make sure you have the tubing/connector twisted the exact amount so that the lines align exactly, and before inserting, check to see that the tongue is aligned with the groove. Your whole body position can affect this.  I find it easiest to sit in a chair with the hoop on my lap, but I have fairly small hoops and am quite tall. I use the thumbs pressing against each other to help disconnect.

If the connection is still really too tight, then sand the part of the connector with the two tounges/knobs. Use very fine grip sandpaper, best around 240, but no coarser than 120.  Use a flat piece of wood or metal around 2 inches wide and wrap or tape the sandpaper to that,  so when you sand you dont introduce curves or bumps which would weaken the connection. Sand evenly, carefully and gently all the way around the part of the connector that inserts into the socket part…and keep checking to see if you have improved things.  Dont sand too much because it only takes a very small change to create a large effect, and if that connection is loose the hoop will not be so tight and the wobble will allow that connection to get looser and looser.

If that doesnt seem to work for you, you can try spraying a little (one short burst) silicon spray into the socket…it will make things more slippery and may introduce some squeaky sounds as you connect and disconnect but those should not appear when you are actually hooping.

If none of this works for you, please email merlin@psihoops.com


The hoop is not perfectly round, how can I fix this?

Usually with the psikohoops, sizes above 34 diameter will not have any issues, but the smaller sizes can distort more around the connector area, giving the hoop a bulge so it takes on the shape of an eye.

The easiest way is to regain roundness is to leave the hoop connected and lying flat on the floor for a day or so.

If that doesn’t fix it, try putting the hoop in a black plastic garbage bag or similar (if its too big to fit in the garbage bag then cut a sheet of black plastic and lay it over the hoop) and leave it lying flat in the mid-day sun for an hour. (Start with 20 mins if it’s a ridiculously hot day) When the tubing is warm and supple you can work it a bit with your hands, flexing it and encouraging it to regain its round shape, and then leave it to cool down on a flat surface.

If still no joy, disconnect the hoop and make it smaller by sliding the ends past each other till they have gone a foot or more. You will tape the hoop at a smaller size, making sure that its in a perfect circle…(or you may make the problem worse). The way to do this is to use 1” tape that doesn’t stretch (gaffers tape or strapping tape will be fine) and spiral the tape out toward each open end. Pay particular attention to the connector pieces and spiral the tape tightly over them to keep the circular shape. If you use too much force as you tape or hold the hoop in a circle, you are liable to introduce some distortion, so you might need to practice a few times – the tape has to be tight but the circle has to stay perfect. At first you might need someone to help you hold parts of the hoop as you do this, but make sure that the taped hoop ends up as a perfect circle with no oval or flat sections.

Now leave the hoop like that in a warm room for a day or so, and then check to see how it looks when its untapped and connected again. If still not good, then retape and leave it in black plastic under the sun on a flat surface as before, but no longer than an hour – and let it cool down while still taped, then remove the tape and connect it again.

If you still have problems with the shape after doing all the above, please email merlin@psihoops.com with pics of the hoop.
my hoop suddenly turns off when hooping…whats going on?

Probably its static electricity – this time of year the atmosphere gets very dry in places and when the hoop rubs on your body and clothing it builds up static and then when your hand passes over the switch it discharges into the onboard computer and  turns it off (crashes it)  we have tried many things in terms of the electronics but haven’t been able to solve it (the usual components that protect from static have not solved, and the switch being re-built etc has not totally handled)

Sooooo…try this – with the hoop in one hand, not over the switch but a few inches away,  rub the other along and back on the tube a few times and then take the first hand and pass it over the switch…see if you can get the hoop to do the same behavior of turning off.

If it turns off (and you didn’t press the button at all but just lightly passed your hand over the switch) then it is a static problem.


Things that help:

put some clear 2” wide packing tape over the switch (or any clear tape, could even be household scotch tape but wider is better) …one or two layers of it all the way around so that you can still use the switch. (you will have to remove this before disconnecting and redo it after charging)

Increase the humidity ( with a humidifier etc) (maybe a light mister spray onto the hoop and your hands?)

Use an anti static cloth intended for the drier to make clothes not cling – but use one without scent – and rub the whole tube with this cloth before hooping.

Hoop in cotton clothes and not ones that produce static (wool, artificial fibers etc)

Keep your hand away from the switch (not practical when you are doing certain moves, I understand)

Do whatever else will lower the static electricity on your body (footwear, carpets etc)

Around here (NC) the problem disappears most times of year and then re-appears when its cold and very little humidity.