In 2015 these sold for $250 for the stand and hologram! Still with limited availability here and a bit cheaper in price:
From Amazon: BUY NOW Star Wars Digital Hologram
From eBay: BUY NOW Star Wars Digital Hologram
Star Wars Digital Hologram: full color digital holography brings to life “A New Hope: Death Star Battle” using the latest technology in 3D imaging. This hologram image is comprised of 734000 hogels (hologram pixels) and comes with its own display stand that illuminates from below. Unlike photographs, holograms are recordings of the interference pattern of light waves. This interference pattern can encode moving 3D images which are revealed by illumination by a point source of light and viewing from an appropriate angle. The latest hologram in my collection, and it looks even more stunning in person.
These coasters are almost sold out everywhere: only The Mona Lisa is still in stock:
From Amazon: BUY NOW CMYK Coasters
From eBay: BUY NOW CMYK coasters
The CMYK model and colorspace on Wikipedia.
CMYK Coasters: physics and psychophysics of four color printing demonstrated with acrylic slides that assemble to reveal Vermeer's "Girl with a Pearl Earring". Cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (key) comprise the elements of the subtractive color model used in most color printing. Repost of the “most liked” post of 2016!
I bought this kinetic illusion at the Exploratorium Museum back in 1995. Not sure if this model is still available anywhere. Here are some available kinetic illusions that operate on the same principle:
From Amazon: BUY NOW Spiral Spinner Illusion
From eBay: BUY NOW Spiral Spinner Illusion
Climbing Sphere Spiral Illusion: hanging by string the rotational motion of the helical spring creates translational motion downward along the vertical direction- however, the ball is often perceived to be rolling upward through the coil.
Vasa Mihich's gallery offer this piece for sale and others:
Gallery of Vasa Mihich
Also often available on eBay:
From eBay: BUY NOW Art by Vasa Mihich
Acrylic Refraction Art: “Block with Five Colors” by Vasa Mihich. Vasa’s art utilizes refraction, reflection, and color mixing to produce sculptures that dramatically change character depending on the angle from which they are viewed.
This glass device is available from this shop in Germany:
From experimentis-shop.de: BUY NOW Vanishing Glass Demonstration
Refraction Vanishing Act: the liquid (immersion oil) in this glass tube has the same index of refraction as the glass. When the oil covers the glass rod inside the tube, the rod becomes invisible! Immersion oil is used with high resolution microscopes and designed to have the same index of refraction as the glass slide and objective lens. This physics puzzle demonstration was handcrafted by a glass maker in Germany and is sold by experimentis, the online shop for physics.
These Light Blox are available in this nice kit from Laser Classroom, a science education supplier:
From Laser Classroom: Light, Color and Shadow Kit
Wikipedia has a fantastic introduction on the topic of RGB Color Theory
RGB Color Addition: three LED light boxes demonstrate the additive nature of colored light. Mixing Red, Green, and Blue to create Yellow, Magenta, and Cyan. An object casts shadows showing the following mixings: R+G=Y, G+B=C, and R+B=M. Adding all three R+G+B produces White (a little pinkish here as the Red is a little bit bright for complete white balance). RGB color addition is the basis for all computer and TV displays- all the colors you are looking at right now on your screen are made from adding pixels of R G and B in different proportions and intensities!
This unique toy came to me from Germany:
From Kreiselparadies.de: Orbit Spin Disk
Orbit: spinning disk toy with off-center sphere. Spinning things obey different rules!- its center of mass goes to the top when spun. Very similar physics to that of the tippy-top (a few posts back on this stream).
Similar modern bulbs available here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW Holiday Aerolux Bulb
Vintage working telephone magnetos available under $100
From eBay: BUY NOW Magneto Generators
Magneto Aerolux Xmas: Wishing all a luminous and Merry Chirstmas with a 1930s Aerolux neon discharge bulb powerd by a functioning antique 5 bar telephone magneto generator made in 1910. The generator creates 100+ Volt AC with such a low frequency one can see the polarity alter back and forth between the electrodes of the flickering bulb. More on vintage magneto physics in upcoming videos! The letters and background filament glow of the Aerolux bulb with light from the emission spectrum of excited neon. The tree glows green from a coating of phosphor which is stimulated to emit green light by the ultraviolet (and invisible) emission line photons from the excited neon atoms.
Get this sample element here:
From materialsampleshop.com: 3D-Printed Optics Sample
Green laser pointers available for under $20:
From eBay: BUY NOW green laser pointer
Wikipedia has a nice discussion of the optical phenomena of caustics
Caustic Projections: the intricate geometries of light due to refraction through various curved surfaces of transparent plastic. A 520 nm green laser pointer is refracted trough a sample optical element with surface features of triangle and square pyramids and convex lens elements- made to exhibit examples for lighting applications. When light rays refract through a curved surface they concentrate into bright patches called caustics, often with cusp singularities (sharp points) and intricate threads of shadow
From Amazon: BUY NOW Andrus Tri-Zonal Space Warper
From eBay: BUY NOW Tri-Zonal Space Warper
Magician and professor of psychology Richard Wiseman describes the genius of Jerry Andrus and the psychophysics of the Space Warper.
Andris Tri-Zonal Space Warper: Stare at the center of the spirals for at least 15 seconds- the next thing you look at will appear to be in motion. This spinning disk top features the famous illusion by magician Jerry Andrus that demonstrates aspects of the physics and psychophysics of our visual perception- specifically the part of our brain that detects motion. The effect is even stronger in person than in the video.
Wikipedia has this introduction to the phenomena of the Aircraft Glory
For a detailed discussion with math, see this entry from the Physics Stack Exchange
Airplane Glory: optical phenomenon that forms rings of color in the clouds- in this case around the shadow of my 737 flight, and is not the same physical process as that of a rainbow. Airplane glories are produce only by very tiny droplets (tens of visible light wavelengths across) in the cloud, and arise due to complex process called wave tunneling, where the electromagnetic waves that make the colors are induced in the drop by a photon only passing close by its surface. Interestingly, the exact details of this phenomenon is still an active area of research! Caught this out the window returning yesterday from a national science teachers convention in Atlanta.
I made this set of tumble rings from reading Martin Gardner's description in his famous mathematical recreations books- highly recommended:
From Amazon: BUY NOW Knots and Borromean Rings by Martin GardnerDescribes the Tumble Rings
From Amazon: BUY NOW Books on recreational math and puzzles by Martin Gardner Lots of physics and math toys in these pages!
Tumble Rings: the links in this chain are connected in a special way such that the top ring appears to tumble to the bottom- a compelling illusion!
This sculpture and others available here:
From eBay: BUY NOW Steinbach Reflection Scupltures
Reflection Symmetry Sculpture: precision etched into one side of a triangular prism, multiple reflections within the optical grade glass create the 3D castle and grounds. Fun use of symmetry and geometry in this optical crystal sculpture series by Steinbach.
This image by István Orosz is available as a poster and as a puzzle:
From Amazon: BUY NOW Mysterious Island Puzzle
From MathArtFun.com: BUY NOW Mysterious Island Poster
For those who want to see the math behind this art, here is an initial paper on the topic published in 2000 in the American Journal of Physics: Anamorphic Images by Hunt et al.
Many books are available (with mirror cylinders) from Amazon: Anamorphic Art in Books
Mirror Anamorphosis: this famous print by artist István Orosz has a hidden anamorphic image revealed by placing a mirrored cylinder over the depiction of the moon in the image. The work visualizes a scene from the book “The Mysterious Island” by the science-fiction author Jules Verne- whose portrait emerges in the reflection on the cylinder. The math describing this mapping is quite complex and was given in detail in a physics journal in 2000, but before that Martin Gardner described the math in 1975. Repost for this week’s theme as I head to G4G!
RAYFORM is a start up company developing this new technology based on the physics of caustics formation described here: RAYFORM technologies
Computational Caustic Projection: an image is formed by refraction through a free form lens in a new process that utilizes the physics behind how light is concentrated into caustics. This piece of molded acrylic has a surface of slight but precisely constructed curves, that when lighted by a broadband light source (Maglite flashlight bulb), projects an image of a lion onto a plane. This is not a hologram, but instead a new proprietary light redirection technology by the company RAYFORM. ? Special thanks to @rayform technologies for sending me this sample.
Get a set here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW Balance Cups
Balance Drinking Vessel: physics meets design in this stainless steel cup- when empty the cup tilts to one side, but when full it stands straight. The walls of this spherical vessel are hollow, asymmetric, and weighted, designed with the center of mass displaced from the symmetry axis such that the empty cup rests in stable equilibrium at a 23 degree tilt. The addition of mass (pouring a drink) within the offset interior of the cup places the center of mass (cup + contents) onto the symmetry axis allowing an upright stable equilibrium. Designed by Katja Hoeltermann for Carl Mertens design of Solingen Germany.