kinetic Art

The Swinging Sticks

The Swinging Sticks Desktop Toy version from their website: 

From GeelongShop.com: BUY NOW The Swinging Sticks
 

The Swinging Sticks Desktop Toy: a personal favorite, this kinetic art device is the ultimate physics toy, and was featured in the movie Iron Man II (sitting on the desk of Pepper Potts). The physics magic of this device displays the essence of chaotic motion with coupled pendulums- the placement of the rods' axes of rotation are engineered to exhibit the widest range of interesting motion. Four AA batteries and a simple kicker circuit in the base gives a push to a magnet in the end of the large rod keeping the system in motion for over a year! 

Pisces Kinetic Art Lamp

The Pisces Lamp is now accepting pledges on Kickstarter. 

On KickStarter: PLEDGE NOW: Pisces Kinetic Art Lamp

This campaing come form the same artist who created the successful campaing for rhe Aquarius Fountian Lamp

Pisces Kinetic Art Lamp: standing waves of a rotating string are illuminated by strobing light in this new kinetic sculpture by artist and computer engineer Stephen Co. With the help of programmable micro-controllers, strips of addressable RBG LEDs are made to flash in sequences that make the rotating string change colors, merge into spoon shaped surfaces, or split into multiple braids. The string is propelled by small motors and the standing waves can have multiple nodes, which can be altered by touching the string while in motion.

Surf's Up!

Kyle Auga-- kinetic sculptures: 
Check out Kyle's art here: 
From Etsy: BUY NOW Kyle's Kinetics 

Surf's Up!: Another gravity defying creation by Kyle Auga, this time a well-balanced stainless steel surfer that carves waves in the air for over 10 minutes on one push! The surfer has the curious motion of a 3D physical pendulum- a complex motion which can be broken down into oscillations along two dimensions and rotation about the point of contact. The stick figure plus counterweights and bar structure is designed such that its center of mass is few centimeters below the contact point when at rest. When the sculpture is tipped the center of mass swings under the pivot point in this stable equilibrium condition- no magnets needed to create this physics magic. 


Zoetrope

Get this inexpensive version here- comes with many animations and balnk strips tomake your own:

From Amazon: BUY NOW: Zoetrope 

Zoetrope: the physics and psychophysics of motion animation- still images flashed in rapid succession produces the illusion of motion through persistence of vision. The slits are crucial to creating the illusion by blacking out the visual stimulus for a short duration- without these pauses only a blur is perceived. When the image flash rate is above the flicker fusion frequency (approximately 16Hz) we perceive fluid motion- the basis for all movies and TV. 

Reuleaux Rotor

This toy is availble from Amazon Japan and will ship to the US:

From Amazon.jp: BUY NOW: Reuleaux Rotor Wodden Toy

Reuleaux Rotor: this famous curve of constant width, the Reuleaux triangle, can rotate such that at all times it remains in contact with all four sides of a square. As demonstrated by this wooden toy from Japan, the rotor covers approximately 98.77% of the area of the square, missing only the sharp corners. The curves in the corners are in the shape of an elliptical arc. Fun fact: a Reuleaux triangle has a perimeter equal to pi times its width- just like a circle! 

Fresnel Minor Lamp

See the gallery of work by the artist: 
Art Gallery: inquire about availability 
Sean Agustine March

Fresnel Minor Lamp: Microlayers of metals and metal oxides allow a slab of glass to transmit a different color than it reflects through thin-film optical phenomena such as interference and selective absorption. In this remarkable art piece, dichroic glass is combined with infinity mirror type multiple reflections creating this dazzling display of physics! Special thanks to @seanaugustinemarch for this amazing addition to my collection.


Rolling Ball Fountain

Find this and similar fountains here:

From Amazon: BUY NOW: Rolling Ball Fountain

Rolling Ball Fountain: this miniature kugel fountain features a glass sphere that sits on a socket of precisely similar shape, and is suspended on a very thin (less than half a mm) film of moving water which greatly reduces friction. The velocity of the water in the thin layer slows as it spreads out via a hole in the socket, and this hole is offset from the center so that the interaction with the water stream sets the ball spinning. A small pump provides the flow rate, and colorful LEDs illuminate the glass sphere to show off the rotation. Perhaps you’ve seen public art installations featuring giant granite spheres weighing tons and yet similarly suspended on a thin layer of flowing water. Physics principles involved here include viscosity and Reynold’s number, the Navier-Stokes equation, Bernoulli’s principle and the study of thin layer lubricants.

Holiday Pyramid

Many types and themes available: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Christmas Pyramids 
From eBay: BUY NOW Christmas Pyramid

Holiday Pyramid: a simple heat engine- rotational motion resulting from the convection of hot air due to the candle flames of two tea lights. These holiday decorations come from a German Christmas tradition, Weihnachtspyramide, that dates back more than 200 years! Energy transfer: chemical bonds to heat to kinetic energy of the rising air to rotational kinetic energy of the turbine and reindeer. 

Fog Globe: Golden Gate Bridge

Get a fog globe here:

From eBay: BUY NOW: Fog Globe

Fog Globe: an ideal souvenir for a San Francisco winter- snow is very rare (1976 recoded one inch downtown) but prolonged fog marks the winter season. The “fog” in this globe consists of small glitter particles of uniform density that can be agitated into temporary suspension and then allowed to settle on the bottom giving the impression of dissipating fog. The particles settle out over the span of a couple minutes and at regular rate since they are fairly uniform and the drag force experienced by the particles depends on the size and weight of each.


Bubble in Viscous Fluid Kinetic Art

This item is a vintage art piece from the 1970s and unfortunately I do not know the artist. Similar devices currently on the market include the Ooze tube:

From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW 
Ooze Tube 

And this version from Amazon: BUY NOW 
Ooze Cube 

Bubble in Viscous Fluid: vintage kinetic art piece from the 1970s- the rising bubble contorts around three ring shaped obstructions with peculiar motion. I love how this construction emphasizes the flow pattern of the air bubble. Another example of the surprising physics to be found in fluid motion.

Rocking Stork Drinking Bird

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.

1790 Terrestrial Globe by Mova

Available for all the planets and several versions of Earth: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW 
Mova Globes: all types 

From Amazon: BUY NOW 
Mova Globes: 1790 Terrestrial

From eBay: BUY NOW 
Mova Globes: all types 

Octopus Stand available here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW
OctoStand in Metal

1790 Terrestrial Globe by Mova: rotating counterweighted globe sealed within a clear liquid filled acrylic sphere. The rotation in a Mova globe is powered by light that shines through the semi-transparent map image on to solar cells within the globe which drive a motor. But what does the motor push against to maintain the rotation? Believe it or not it uses magnets to push against the Earth's magnetic field like a compass needle. Wonderful physics of all kinds in the design of this clever device. The featured map is a faithful recreation of a globe famous for its accuracy at the time by Giovanni María Cassini and highlights the voyages of James Cook.

 


Colored Ferrofluid Display Cells

Available on Etsy: BUY NOW Motion Ferrofluid Sculpture 

Colored Ferrofluid Display Cells: spectacular metallic blue, gold, and black display cells by czferro - colloidal ferromagnetic liquids in a specially prepared water-alcohol suspension. Curious behavior results from the interplay between magnetic force and surface tension. The gold and blue coloring appears to be from a thin coating at the boundary between the ferrofluid and the suspension liquid. Still exploring the details of the coloring and the specific makeup of the clear suspension fluid - both trade secrets it seems. 

Polage

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 

Click this link for more physics fun with polarization. 

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. 

Pendulum Clock

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. 


High Tech Rain Stick

Available here: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW 
Acrylic Rain Stick 

From eBay: BUY NOW 
Acrylic Rain Stick 

Get the spectrum analysis app here: SpectrumView - Oxford Wave Research Ltd.

Wikipedia has nice articles about white noise and other colors of noise described with the math of spectrum analysis 

High Tech Rain Stick: white noise- the sound of two thousand metal spheres falling and bouncing through a plastic labyrinth creates a power spectrum of sound waves with all frequencies at equal intensity, creating the shhh sound we often encounter from many random processes. Part of the cascade slowed to 240 FPS midway through video.

Oloids: Solid and Anit-oloid

Order your Anti-Oliod today: available in three types of metal:

From The Matter Collection: ORDER NOW: Anti-Oloids in Brass, Copper, and Steel 

Oloids: “solid hull” and “ruled surface” types made from brass and copper- oloids are unique solids that roll in such a way that every point on their surface comes in contact with the plane. The basis of the oliod’s geometry is that of two connected circles, one perpendicular to the other such that the rim of each circle goes through the center of the other. The shapes you see here are the results of connecting the rims of these circles together with a family of straight lines, one method leads to the solid convex hull form, and another way leads to the ruled oloid (anti-oloid).