Art of play
Where epiphanies await the curious mind!
Art of Play Catalog
Only made by the Flyte team:
From Art of Play: Buda Ball
Buda Ball: a spherical magnet is pinned 1.5 centimeters from the surface of its hardwood base. Within the base is an innovative control system with adjustable electromagnet coils in a feedback loop with Hall effect sensors which allow for fine tuning of a magnetic field to precisely balance the pull of gravity- even when the base is in a vertical orientation! Amazing magnetic levitation physics demonstrated with aesthetic design (and very clever engineering) by the Flyte team- the only (non-superconducting) system I know of that can suspend in a horizontal direction as shown in this video.
Precision machined and available in brass or stainless steel:
From Art of Play: BUY NOW: Nova Plexus Puzzle
Nova Plexus Puzzle: 12 identical brass rods can create 4 interlocking triangles in a perfect symmetry- look carefully and you can see that each rod is in an identical configuration with the 5 others that connect with it. Precision machined notches on the ends of the rods allow them to interlock with elastic tension such that vector sum of the 5 forces on each rod is zero- creating this astonishing geometry as the equilibrium state. Unlock the ends of any two rods and the system instantly disassembles (swipe to view process in slow motion). Invented/designed by artist and computer scientist Geoff Wyvill in 1978, this puzzle has just recently been made available for sale with a limited production run.
Get a Sp!n Top here:
From Art of Play: BUY NOW: Sp!n Top
Sp!n Top: once set into motion the eye only perceives the punctuation mark ! in the center of a ring, with the vertical line seemingly suspended in space above the dot. The rate of spin is above the flicker fusion threshold of human vision, and the crossbars become blurred out and invisible- the effect is even more pronounced in person (hard to capture on video). Physics and psychophysics combine to produce this wonderful illusion!
Two versions available here:
From Art of Play: BUY NOW: Kostick's Stars
Here is the detail of the connections of the 6 star from the patent document:
Learn more about John Kostick here: John and Jane Kostick handcrafted mathematical constructions
Kostick Stars: The geometric forms of these kinetic sculptures snap into place due only to the balanced tension forces between the slightly bent bronze wires. The large star is comprised of six struts, each made of 5 wires, which are made to intersect and weave though each other with beautiful geometric regularity. Similarly the small star has 4 struts each made of 3 wires. The ends of the 6 struts of the large star become the 12 vertices of an icosahedron, and the ends of the 4 struts of the small star point to the 8 corners of a cube. Both stars can be collapsed along many of the symmetry axes. Invented and patented in 1970, these stars are still produced and sold by artist and designer John Kostick.
Own this scuplture by Ivan Black (made in collaboration with Italian manufacture house Atellani):
From Art of Play: BUY NOW Square Wave
The Square Wave: an interactive kinetic sculpture of 24 interlocking right angle metal rods from the mind of artist Ivan Black. Waves propagate, folding the structure into a tight curl- and a reverse snap will bring it back to the initial flat square state. An important design feature is that each right angle rod is limited to move through about 45 degrees, and all through parallel axes, allowing for the beautiful rotational wave motion via a cascade of angular momentum transfer.
Only available from these aritist/craftsmen:
From Art of Play: BUY NOW: Impossible Bolt & Nuts
Impossible Bolt: one nut threads on clockwise as normal- the other threads on counterclockwise on the same bolt! Not impossible- but carefully engineered and machined. Swipe for partial hint on mechanism. This puzzling curiosity was inverted by Scott Eliott and machined in solid brass by puzzle crafters Steve Nicholls and Ali Morris of TwoBrassMonkeys.
Here is an affordable version of this device:
From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW Flow Ring
The original version is available here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW Toroflux
Get one and flow with it!
From Art of Play: BUY NOW
Why does it look like a bubble when moving fast? Wikipedia has the details: when the object exceeds a certain speed the flicker fusion frequency of our vision produces the bubble illusion.
The physics of the toroflux is wonderfully illustrated and explained in this article by Daniel Walsh.
Toroflux: kinetic art toy made from a single continuous loop of stainless steel band. The band of spring metal is woven such that it forms a torus that can clamp on to and roll down a stick, segment of tubing, or even an arm. Amazing combination of math and kinetic art invented by Jochen Valett.
This manipulable kinetic art available here:
From Art of Play: BUY NOW The Helicone
The Helicone: an interactive kinetic sculpture designed by @john.edmark and distributed by playableArt. With a bit of practice I finally mastered the transformation in both directions: A snap of the wrist imparts angular momentum to the laser cut wood petals which then rotate until an internal mechanism stops their motion with predetermined spacing- a helix transforms to an abstract pine cone. A second snap of the wrist in the opposite direction returns the helix.
From Crushmetric: BUY NOW: Crushmetric Pen
From Art of Play: BUY NOW: Switch Pen
Crushmetric Holographic: the Switch Pen with diffractive rainbow foil- functional kinetic art based on materials science and tessellation origami techniques. The crushed state can be reversed over and over in this incredible design by artist/inventor Noah Deledda, also known for his similar sculptures created from aluminum cans.
From Art of Play: BUY NOW : Shashibo Geometric Art
Shashibo Geometric Art: dissect a cube into 12 equal irregular tetrahedra, connect these pieces symmetrically with hinges, and add 36 magnets to create a device with more that 70 geometrically interesting and aesthetic configurations.
Get one there:
From Art of Play: BUY NOW: Dymaxion Folding Globe
Dymaxion Map: today some math fun with this unique mapping of the Earth where the globe is projected onto an icosahedron and then unfolded onto two dimensions. Invented by the famous architect R. Buckminster Fuller, the Dymaxion projection map is designed such that it does not have a “right way up” and showing the continents as “one island Earth”. This mapping also produces less distortion of relative areas and shapes- note here that Greenland looks, correctly, much smaller than Africa- unlike what is seen on many world maps where they look the same size. This version, designed by Brendan Ravenhill, uses flat magnets to allow a very satisfying transformation between the flat 2D net and the 3D icosahedron “globe”.
These are not just tops, but works of art. Available in Copper and in Silver!
From Art of Play: BUY NOW Strobe Coin
Strobe Coin Spinning Top: beautiful coin tops made of solid copper and silver display a remarkable spinning strobe pattern when viewed on video from a smartphone. Incredible art/physics from @shirepostmint that takes advantage of aliasing and the wagon-wheel effect. The black enamel pattern on the top of the coin is specifically designed to interact with the frame rate of the video process to produce the intricate motions of the concentric circle patterns seen here, and on the back of the coin a starburst pattern provides similarly interesting effects. These coins can be spun on both sides with spin times reaching 12 minutes! The contact points are super hard spheres of silicon nitride black ceramic (Si3N4) providing a low friction bearing.
These globes are now available in three colors:
From Art of Play: BUY NOW: Mezmoglobe Kinetic Object
Mezmoglobe: precision machined kinetic desk toy with helical motion illusion. Give this metal sphere a spin and the imparted angular momentum (along with precision bearings) allows for sustained rotation. The spiral design converts rotational motion to translational motion, and imparts the illusion that fluid like ripples are traveling along the metal surface. Another intriguing design by Kristoph Krisjans.
From Art of Play: BUY NOW LessMore Bowls
Learn more about this illusion and its history on the Wikipedia page: Jastrow Illusion
LessMore Bowls: (non-physics post) these serving dishes by @artofplay are a 3D version of the famous Jastrow Illusion, where the lower curve always appears larger than the top one. Note that even after we verify the bowls are the same size, our perception still misleads- a reminder that we need science to transcend the limits of our senses.
This finally crated kinetic art piece avaiable here:
From Art of Play: BUY NOW: Slow Dance
Slow Dance: a kinetic sculpture via induced vibration and high speed strobe lighting in which objects exhibit subtle and beautiful motion when mounted within this special frame. I love how the electromagnet, with its beautiful copper windings, is prominently featured at the bottom of the frame. Electronics within the frame send AC currents to the electromagnet which then pushes and pulls magnets on each side. These magnets are affixed to leaf springs to which feathers, flowers, and other objects are attached with elastic bands. The arrangement is then illuminated by LEDs set to strobe at just the right frequency to produce the slow dance illusion.
Get this well made woodworked illuson here:
From Art of Play: BUY NOW: Kellar Trivet
More on the second illusion: Skye Cafe Illusion
Café Wall Illusion Trivet: slide half the bars and to the right the lines look parallel and straight, slide them back to the left and the illusion of crookedness returns. Note that even after we verify the lines are parallel, our perception still misleads- a reminder that we need science to transcend the limits of our senses and cognition. A creative woodworked trivet for the kitchen table by Tony Potter. Swipe to view an award winning version of this illusion by Victoria Skye.