Frequently Asked Questions

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 intuitive) – they are Interactive, Intense and Illuminating. Pronounced “sigh”, or “seye”…the P is psilent!

Why Psi-ko?

We couldn’t resist! Making these hoops was nuts! Because all the patterns and trails and things that appear are so crazy. We are 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 Merlin, psilly puns are usually met with a psi!) Sometimes the word appears hyphenated as psi-kohoop, or even psi-ko-hoop but usually we spell it psikohoop.

Why Psi-luzion?

The psi part stands for the magic, the luzion part stands for the light. Ryan and Patrick, the creators of this instrument, both share the family name Deluz, which means “of light”. The hoop creates illusions (ps-illusions).

We had created the psikohoop partly with the hope it would inspire some people (and potentially the whole culture) to move more in the direction of having interfaces that used a language of whole body movement, and not just fingers and thumbs. From digital to organismic, perhaps. However, the psikohoop was a little complicated and had a steep and lengthy learning curve, which is alright for an instrument but not so good for a tool or a toy.

With the psiluzion the emphasis is on simplicity and ease of use. We wanted clarity and legibility of displays, so that words and logos could be conveyed effectively. We needed higher definition.  So, the psiluzion.

How come the psiluzion costs twice as much?

This question has not yet been frequently asked, because the price has not been released and only just been decided. But its likely to be an FAQ.

I (Merlin) do not like to have to price the hoop this high, but its necessary at this point if psihoops is to continue in business.

I did not start making LED hoops just for profit, and that has never been the reason that I have made a hoop. I was the first to make and sell LED hoops back in 2005, and my interest back then was just in the hoops themselves, as dance partners.  Freestyle dance is my own main play/practice, and I love to include toys that enrich the dance.

The fact is that the psikohoop never made a profit, and I have had to borrow a lot of money (many tens of thousands of dollars) just to stay afloat and to develop the psiluzion. The psikohoop and psiluzion both use hardware that is custom made, unlike all other LED hoop manufacturers.  This hardware is a LOT more expensive than what goes into other hoops. The master board with its big processor, sensors , memory etc. had to be custom designed and made for us.  The software is all custom and has taken years to develop and refine. We don’t use ready-made generic Arduino-type software/hardware which seem to be the choice of most other hoop makers. Not that there is anything wrong with that software etc, just that it is not unique and not made especially for a hoop.

The psikohoop and psiluzion are unique instruments.  It’s the quality of the displays, the way the hoop interacts with you, the movement responsiveness, the ability to control the hoop with hoop movements like isolations and flips, the ability of the hoops to detect and vary modes and displays based on the type of hooping you are doing, the attention to detail. Each hoop is hand built.  Their purpose is to deepen your experience, bring joy and satisfaction,  and to communicate more effectively with audiences.

Over the years I personally have spent many thousand hours developing these hoops; in the past year alone I spent more than a thousand hours making and tweaking displays for the psiluzion.  Then there has been the extensive (huge) contributions from Ryan in developing the code and the functions of the psikohoop and psiluzion. Each hoop then takes a total of 5 hours to build. Kelie, my partner for the past 10 years, helps to build each hoop, preparing materials and assisting in assembly and social media. There have been many other people contributing to this venture.

After I pay for labor and materials, discount code uses, and general costs of doing business, there is no profit on the psikohoop.  So its either increase price or stop making hoops.

NOTE that the psikohoop will remain at the price it is. Although it has ¼ the number of LEDs, it is an incredible instrument. I don’t make a profit on it but I enjoy being able to serve the hooping community in some way.

For the Psiluzion, if you are a performer you can hopefully make the return for your investment in an evening or two of performance.  If you are going to use the Psiluzion for advertising/promoting brand or event or company etc, then the cost is insignificant.

What are the specs of the Psiluzion and Psikohoop?

Note that information specific to the PSILUZION is in this color type

Information specific to the PSIKOHOOP is in this color type

Information that applies to both models of psi hoop is in black/grey type

Weight is around 10-12 ounces depending on overall size. All are made using ¾” outside diameter tubing. The tubing can be either: hard clear PP, medium PP, colored medium PP or HDPE.  See below for more information on tubings.

The connector is a new type of easy twist connector that Psihoops patented. It is weatherproof, though not completely waterproof, so please don’t submerge your 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. It is an electronic switch and there is nothing to click or move, just press down gently and firmly. The push itself can be very short but sometimes there is a lag while the processor works to select the correct response.  There is nothing else sticking out of the hoop and there are no other holes or ports.

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 the USB port inside the connector. It is accessed by twisting the hoop open. There is a charger and cable included with the hoop and also a 40-page introductory booklet with pictures to show the basic functions.

The programs, LED strip, and electronics of the hoop are all custom-designed for this hoop. Merlin of Psihoops sold the first LED hoops ever made, back in 2005 In 2007 psihoops had the first sequencer hoop, and Merlin has worked on the psikohoop, non-stop, for over 7 years. The psiluzion has taken a further 3 years, and thousands of hours of development.

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.

The PSILUZION, with 4 times as many LEDs and improved display functions, can make much more detail and sharper images with more definition in the logos, symbols and words.

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).

In the psikohoop 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 talk with psihoop owners or best yet, purchase one and discover as you go…

Should I use PP or HDPE?

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 won’t 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.

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

HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene)

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

It does not crack, which is a major advantage especially if the hoop is to be used outdoors in the winter.

The main limitation of HDPE is that it can kink if hit against a sharp object. Once kinked, it won’t 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.

Are there different types of PP?

Yes! There is hard PP and medium PP. Medium PP is slightly more resistant to cracking and slightly less stiff – not quite as responsive as hard PP. This would be a safer bet if you will be hooping in cold weather. Hard PP is better for larger hoops over around 31” and medium PP is much better at the smaller sizes under around 28 inches.

The specialty tubing, both colored or embedded with sparkles or with different surface looks, is all very similar to medium PP, and mostly performs identically to medium PP. However, the ordinary clear medium PP is the least liable to crack because it does not have any additives or special finishes.

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

Does tinted tubing affect the color of the lit hoop?

The tinted tubings Psihoops uses are subtle and mainly affect the look of the unlit hoop. Some of the colored tubing that has more saturation will affect the color of the LEDs. A strong blue hoop for example, will make the yellow lights a bit greener.  If you want to special-order some colored tubing, in medium PP it is a great look at an extra $20 cost.

Is a Psikohoop available in 5/8 OD tubing?

Not at this time. All Psikohoops and Psiluzions  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 the wider tubing. A future generation will be made from thinner tubing if possible.

How should I decide what size hoop to 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. Try that out with one of your hoops and make sure the hoop is not too big to flip…if it bumps into your chest its too big.

In general with any hoop, the larger it is, the slower it will go and the easier it will be to spin on your waist, legs, and chest. If a beginner is having trouble keeping a hoop spinning, the easiest solution is to use a bigger/heavier hoop. Merlin has 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 will be put on your wrists and fingers if you do a lot of that kind of move. 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 key. If you mostly enjoy fast moving hoops and a lot of hand work, then smaller will be better.

Because the Psihoop relies on many of its effects on trails of light, then the speed of the hoop is a factor and in general, you will want to get as small a hoop as you are comfortable with. It’s difficult to change the diameter of a Psihoop once it’s made and would involve complete disassembly and reassembly which is time-consuming and expensive. It’s best to first try different sizes using regular hoops or less advanced LED hoops.

What sizes are available?

The size range of the Psiluzion is from 23 OD to 35 OD. (Outside diameter measured from outside edge to outside edge).

Psikohoops from 24″ to 37”.

Customers 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).

The classic psihoop is available in sizes from just over a foot in diameter to over 5 feet in diameter.

Should I get my hoop sanded?

A psihoop can be sanded on the surface that touches the body, so that its stickier/has more traction.  The outer surface can also be sanded to increase diffusion.  Its up to you and you can do it yourself quite easily. Use 60-80  grade for rough sanding, 80-100 for medium and 120 to 150 for fine.
< h1>Are the Psikohoop and Psiluzion collapsible?

Short answer – yes. Customers can twist the connector apart and slide the ends of the tubing past each other till you get to the size you want. For instance, it could be collapsed 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?

Yes! See our warranty page for information on our Psihoop warranty.

The connector feels stiff when connecting and disconnecting. Is there anything I can do?

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

A lot depends on the exact angle (up and down or 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.  It’s often easiest to sit in a chair with the hoop on your lap using thumbs pressing against each other to help disconnect.

Make sure you have the hoop tubing twisted exactly right, per the lines on the outside of the connector – line them up before pulling.

A pair of rubber gloves or very flexible work gloves that are “sticky” (not slippery – not leather gloves etc.)  will help.

Have the hoop in a warm place for an hour or so before connecting/disconnecting.

If the connection is still really too tight, then sand the part of the connector with the two tongues/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 don’t 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.  Don’t 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.

You can also wrap a bit of fine sandpaper around a wooden or metal dowel (that will fit exactly in the socket where the connector end inserts) and sand that a little.

If that doesn’t 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 contact us directly for help.

The hoop is not perfectly round. What can I do?

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.

This problem has largely been resolved now by changing the assembly procedures and so it should not occur.

If your hoop does become eye-shaped please contact customer service and we can fix it or you could try the following:

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 it’s 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 very 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 it’s in a perfect circle. 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 contact us directly and include pictures of your hoop.

My hoop shuts off randomly when hooping. What can I do?

It’s very likely static electricity – at certain times 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 (or crashes it). We have tried many things in terms of the electronics but haven’t been able to solve this. The usual components that protect from static have not solved, and the switch being re-built etc has not totally handled this issue

Try this – with the hoop in one hand, not over the switch but a few inches away,  rub the other hand 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 or maybe a light mister spray onto the hoop and your hands?

Use an anti-static cloth intended for the dryer to make clothes not cling – but use one without scent – and rub the whole tube with this cloth before hooping. You can use an anti-static spray on the tubing and your clothes if you’d like.

Hoop in cotton clothes and not ones that produce static such as wool, artificial fibers, etc.

Hoop with thin rubber gloves on – such as wonder grip gloves you can get at Amazon. But washing up gloves will also work. These kinds of gloves also make it much easier to connect and disconnect the hoop.

Keep your hand away from the switch. We understand this is not practical when doing certain moves.

Do whatever else will lower the static electricity on your body with consideration to footwear, carpets, etc.

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

NOTE: if it’s very easy to open and close then you may need to tape it before doing any extreme hooping – spiral moves, wedgies, and so forth. If done with a lot of force and twist, this could cause the hoop to come open. A 2” clear piece of packing tape will prevent this. If you go just once around over the connector and switch, you will still be able to use the switch for all functions.

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Feel free to reach out to us on social media! We love seeing what you do with your Psihoops and love to share our customers’ experiences. Tag us or use hashtags like #psihoops  #psikohoop  #psiluzion to share!