Now on KickStarter!
From KickStarter: Pledge NOW: The HoverPen
The HoverPen: versions 1.0 (vertical) and 2.0 (inclined 23.5°) sleek writing pens trapped against gravity by a magnetic fields via precision engineered placement of neodymium magnets in their bases.
ORDER HERE : 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.
Galton Board version available here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW
The Random Walker: second model of two Galton Boards designed and produced by IFA.com- this version is made to demonstrate probability in investment returns of a global stock market portfolio relating to risk capacity. Slow motion reveals the erratic path of each steel ball (second half of video). The red graph shows the distribution of 592 monthly returns (mean =1%, SD=5%) representing data from 50 years of an IFA Index fund- here the random “walk” of 3000 steel balls falling through 12 levels of branching paths always produce a close match, and both distributions tend toward the famous bell curve distribution. A wonderfully designed modern version of the Galton Box invented by Sir Francis Galton(1894) to demonstrate the Central Limit Theorem - showing how random processes gather around the mean.
Sphericon and Hexa-sphericon: beautiful works of art in metal- available here!
From the Matter Collection: BUY NOW The Sphericon (Hex and Regular)
3D printed as well as handmade sphericons and similar shapes avaiable here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Sphericons
Hexa-Sphericon: Sphericons are unique solids that roll in such a way that every point on their surface comes in contact with the plane- following the path shown here with white paper. Solids from the sphericon family all have one side and two edges. Each sphericon is based on a regular polygon, with the basic sphericon derived from a square, and here- a more interesting case with more complex rolling motion- from a hexagon.
Austine has an on-line gallery of her amazing work. Click on any image to see a short video of more polage in action:
From Austine Studios: Polarized Light Art
Sometimes Austine's work can be found on eBay:
From eBay: SEARCH Polage by Austine
Here is a very nice discussion about polarization that pertains to Polage: Experiments With Polarized Light by Donald E. Simanek
Polage: art with polarized light using polarizing sheets and cellulose to create changing forms and colors. Rotation of the filter allows the artist to incorporate more than one image and produce colorful metamorphosis. This piece was created by Austine Wood Comarow- the main developer of this art form- and this piece is signed "Young Rose 1987 28/50". Light has an orientation, denoted as polarization, and a polarizing filter can be used to block certain orientations. The colors in polage come from how the molecular structure of plastics can rotate the polarization of any light that passes through- but only light corresponding to yellows and greens gets rotated in plastic, reds and blues not so much. Polage uses different layers of plastic to rotate the light, and then polarizing filters are added to allow only certain frequencies (colors) of light through.
Created in my shop with these parts:
From Amazon: plastic rings, plastic sphere, blue paint
Inspired by the Phone Booths in the new Watchmen series.
Calling Dr. Manhattan: floating rings illusion device inspired by the recent Watchmen series. Two attached rings appear to roll in an impossible way around an orb, featured in a number of scenes on top of blue interplanetary phone booths in the new Watchmen series. Created in my shop with plastic rings and some blue spray paint.
This version is a bit pricy, but very well made and shows the phenomena of spontaneous stratification better than any other versions I've seen:
From Amazon: BUY NOW
Kinetic Sandscape: the phenomenon of spontaneous stratification is a striking feature of this sand motion desk toy. Typically pouring stuff together results in further mixing, yet here, when the sand mixture descends through a gap in the air bubbles, the resulting pile is ordered into sorted layers. The larger rounded dark grains separate from the smaller sharp-edged white grains forming the layers you see here. The darker grains alone would stack into a steeper pile (larger angle of repose) than the white which would form a less steep pile. The stratification process is a slow one in this device, here about 30 minutes have been condensed to the 60 second IG format.
This type of kaleidoscope is hard to find and mostly made by artists. Here are two examples currently avaliable:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Chorus Line Kaleidoscope
From KaleidoscopeShop.com: BUY NOW: Chorus Line Kaleidoscope
Click here for affordable, precision made scopes with angled mirrors: Kaleidoscope Symmetries Explored
Chorus Line Kaleidoscope: an interesting and uncommon kaleidoscope design where two mirrors are placed with surfaces parallel to each other- resulting in a side by side strip of alternating images. Here the camera is attached to the view port and the entire tube is rotated to produce the changing patterns. The kaleidoscope was invented by the famous Scottish physicist Sir David Brewster (1781-1868), and has become an entire field of artistic endeavor.
Classroom demonstration models are available here
From Amazon: BUY NOW Wilberforce Pendulum Apparatus
Wikipedia has a good introduction to the physics: Wilberfocre Pendulum
Wilberforce Pendulum: the mass and spring properties of this device are tuned such that the kinetic energy transfers back and forth between bouncing and twisting in this special coupled harmonic oscillator system invented by physicist Lionel Wilberforce in 1896. If any system is free to oscillate in two or more ways, the energy can transfer between the different modes- note that the bouncing completely stops for a bit, and then the twisting briefly stops- and back and forth with a period of energy transfer at about 15 seconds between the bounce mode and the twist mode. Here the mass and rotational inertia (altered by moving the four small masses in and out) are adjusted so that the resonance frequency of twisting is equal to the resonance frequency of bouncing. This system will complete up to 5 cycles (from rotation only to bounce only and back) before the energy is dissipated.
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
Dual Spiral Kinetic Art: hanging by fishing line, thick gauge steel wire is shaped into connected helixes- a pair twisting clockwise and a single coiled counterclockwise. When spinning the rotational motion creates translational motion both upwards and downwards along the vertical direction, and also the striking illusion that the quartz sphere is climbing or descending.
This finally crated kinetic art piece avaiable here:
From Wonder Machines: BUY NOW: Slow Dance
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 one from David Fowler's online shop:
From PhysicsHack: BUY NOW: Vortex Dome Kalliroscope
Made with extraordinary craftsmanship and high quality materials, and sold at a very reasonable price!
Vortex Dome Kalliroscope: kinetic art with rheoscopic fluid in a rotating base. Visualizing the invisible- the Vortex Dome is the creation of engineer/inventor and @physicsfun featured artist David Fowler aka @physicshack who creates this modern rotating kalliroscope that generates complex and beautiful structures similar to those seen in the cloud bands of the gas giants of our solar system like Jupiter. The capsule is constructed of high quality glass on a heavy stainless steel base which glides on bearings for long spin times.
Get this kit here (comes complete as shown in my video):
From engineDIY: BUY NOW: Magnetic Levitation Module
The featured sculture is by Bathsheba Grossman, affordable and beautiful math art available here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Soliton Sculpture
Electromagnetic Levitation Module: this engineered control system uses adjustable electromagnets (four copper coils) and and two Hall effect magnetic field sensors (held firm embedded in white silicone) to levitate an 5cm diameter neodymium magnet platform about 3 cm in mid-air. A feedback loop informed by the Hall effect sensors allows fine tuning of the magnetic field to exactly balance the pull of gravity, and is powered by a standard USB connection. The platform also rotates, perfect for showcasing one of my metal 3D printed mathematical sculptures by Bathsheba Grossman.
Get this metallic lava version here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Metallic Lava Lamp
From explOratorium store: BUY NOW: Metallic Lava Lamp
See aslo: Magnetic Ferrofluid Lava Lamp
The Lava Lamp: with new pearlescent metallic “lava”- kinetic art with an amazing amount of physics on display: convective heat flow, Archimedes principle, surface tension (note how the smaller blobs form into spheres), and immiscible liquids to name just some of the science behind this famous device. In this loop one can see shock waves ripple through the blobs as they detach, and as they recombine at the bottom. Manufactured by Mathmos and invented in 1963 by Edward Walker of Dorset, England.
Affordable gravity powered pendulum clocks available here in a number of styles:
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Pendulum Clock
The version featured in the video is the: Hermle Ravensburg Clock
Gravity Powered Pendulum Clock: invented in 1656 by Christian Huygens, the physics properties of a swinging pendulum was the basis of all precision clocks until the 1940s. As noted by Galileo, the period of swing of a pendulum can be made very precise and stable depending only on its length. This modern version is made faithfully in the original design powered only by gravity as the potential energy of the descending weight is transferred to the kinetic energy of the drive train gears and pendulum. The key feature of any pendulum clock is the anchor escapement mechanism- a curved piece attached to the pendulum with two prongs that only allows the escapement wheel to move forward one tooth per swing cycle, and producing the characteristic “tick-tock” sound. The weight descends about 1 cm per hour, and when hanging from a wall the chain needs to be pulled once a week, raising the weight up about 2 m to keep the clock in operation. This beautiful clock, made by Hermle, features a chime that sounds upon the hour.
Logan sometimes has items for sale here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: PocketScintillators
Pocket Scintillator Card: three sheets of seemingly random arrays of translucent colored pixels produce words and images when stacked- shift the stack of sheets and a second images appears! Innovative kinetic optical art by inventor, artist, software developer Logan Kerby @thanksplease who kindly sent me these cards encoded with @physicsfun themes.
This artisitic version of the Drinking Bird available here:
From drinkingbird.eu: BUY NOW: Rocking Stork
Get a standard Drinking Bird from these sources:
From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW
Drinking Bird Engine
From Amazon: BUY NOW
Drinking Bird Engine
Wikipedia has wonderful details about the rich history (and further descriptions of the operational principals) of the Drinking Bird.
Rocking Stork: this species of drinking bird toy comes from the Czech Republic where each is crafted in blown glass by an artisan. This classic physics toy is a functional heat engine- cooling by evaporation at the head/beak leads to lower pressure in the top bulb, the pressure in the bottom bulb pushes the dichloromethane fluid (here dyed red) up the neck making the bird top heavy and the bird tips over dipping its beak and letting the fluid return to the bottom bulb. The process repeats, and as long as the top bulb stays wet and cooler than the bottom this heat engine will continue to cycle.
Get these and other amazing developable rollers here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Hexacon and Sphericon Rollers
Hexacon Roller: beautiful 3D printed versions of a recent mathematical discovery of new developable rollers (objects that roll where every point on the roller’s surface comes into contact with the plane upon which it rolls). Similar to the sphericon (based on a square) the hexacon rolls in a straight line with a peculiar wobble motion but has a hexagonal cross section (swipe to see video loop of each in motion). The hexacon (2019) and sphericon (1980) are two of a family of such rollers called polycons discovered by David Hirsch, and described in a paper by Hirsch and Seaton published in January of this year.