In 1986, engineer Scott Stillinger was having trouble teaching…

In 1986, engineer Scott Stillinger was having trouble teaching his two young kids how to play catch. Balls were too bouncy, and bean bags too heavy. The California resident soon realized he needed a better ball—one that was soft, wouldn’t bounce, and could be grasped easily.

“I intuitively knew that a rubber-filament ball would do the trick, so I set out to try to find a way to make that,” Stillinger said. He started with a box of rubber bands and then refined the design of his energy-absorbent ball, eventually settling on natural rubber latex in non-toxic colors.

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