Recent Posts

Switch Pitch Ball

Many colors to choose from- get one here: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW 
Switch Pitch

Switch Pitch Ball: this spherical assembly changes color by turning inside out when tossed into the air. Advertisements for this toy incorrectly claim air drag is involved in the transformation. The ball is made of multiple components hinged together. In launching the ball from the hand an upward acceleration results in a torque that pivots each component around its center of mass, causing the rotation of these components in an organized way leading to the transformation. Imagine tossing a stick straight up. If the stick is perfectly vertical upon launch it will move straight up- but if it is initially slanted at all it will also begin to rotate upon launch. Similar physics underlies the motion of each component of the ball- shown here in 240 fps slow motion. The Switch Pitch is produced by the makers of the Hoberman Sphere.

Dipole Magnet and Iron Filings

Get this set here: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW 
Magnetic Viewing Cylinder

Dipole Magnet and Iron Filings: visualizing the invisible- the magnetic field lines around a dipole magnet. In the presence of a magnetic field, ferromagnetic materials (such as iron) temporarily become magnets. Here the iron filings become dipole magnets and link end to end to follow and reveal the magnetic field lines associated with the permanent magnet within the hollow tube. 

Gifeez: Modern Phenakistiscope

This amazing toy for under $10: 

From Amazon: BUY NOW: Gifeez Animation Toy

Gifeez: a modern zoetrope type device with built in strobe light to explore the physics and psychophysics of motion animation- still images flashed in rapid succession produces the illusion of motion through persistence of vision. This inexpensive device has two modes: 1) the strobe frequency is set to various ratios of the spin frequency creating fascinating motion of abstract geometrical images, and 2) the strobe is set to animate simple cartoons. When the image flash rate is above the flicker fusion frequency (approximately 16Hz) we perceive fluid motion- the basis for all movies and TV. This device includes a centripetal switch that turns on the strobe and a motor that keeps the disk spinning for a couple minutes and comes with 15 printed double sided disks and a few blanks to allow for your own designs. 


Universe Sphere

Created by Clemens & Christoph of CinkS labs: Available in a cube too! 
From CinkS Labs: BUY NOW Universe Sphere

Special offer for physicsfun folowers: Use code POCKETUS and get a free Pocket Universe with your order of a sphere. Just add the Pocket Universe to your cart and apply the code. 

Wikipedia has a good description of the distribution of galaxies on this scale 

Click here for Milky Way in a Sphere

Universe Sphere: 380000 laser etched dots, each dot representing a galaxy of stars, reveals the largest scale structure of our universe. This glass sphere contains a 3D mapping of galaxies in a volume of our universe spanning 800 million lightyears in diameter, and shows the clumping and distribution as seen by automated telescopic surveys such as that found in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey data. Hold a chunk of the universe in your hand!

In-Feed Google

Uranium Glass Marbles

Available here: 
From STEMCell Science: BUY NOW: Uranium Marbles 

And get the 405nm Laser here: 
From eBay: BUY NOW: 405nm Laser 

Uranium Glass Marbles: the very small quantities of uranium oxide in this glass give it its green color and produces brilliant fluorescence under a 405nm violet laser pointer. Uranium is of course radioactive but the tiny amount in this kind of glass poses no risk. The florescence has nothing to do with the radioactivity- in fact it is myth that radioactive items glow!


Time's Up

Similar timers available from these sources: 
From eBay: BUY NOW 
Inverted Timer 


From Amazon: BUY NOW 
Inverted Timer 


Time's Up: inverse of the sandglass- tiny plastic beads are less dense than the water and thus ascend to the top of the container under the influence of a buoyant force in accordance with Archimedes' principle. This timer takes almost exactly 6 minutes to complete shown here at normal speed for the first half of this video, and the second half is condensed to 24 seconds in time-lapse. 

Spin Bank

Available from these fine sources: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW 
Coin Spin Bank 

From eBay: BUY NOW 
Spin Coin Bank

Spin Bank: a clever spring mechanism launches each coin into rotation along a symmetry axis on to a concave trapping surface. Angular momentum of the spinning quarter keeps it upright even as it bounces upon impact with the platform. Another spin on making saving spare change fun!

Dot Animation Card

Five animations to choose from- collect them all!

From Art fo Play: BUY NOW: Dot Animation Cards

Dot Animation Cards: a unique version of barrier-grid (kinegram) animation where a matrix of holes allows only some of the dots on the covered card to show in succession producing the appearance of motion. In this clever design rotating the card with dots by 180 degrees reveals a second animation. Affordable kinetic art by Shigeki Naito that plays on the psychophysics of vision.


Chil Balance Sculpture

This elegant design comes ready to assemble in your choice of four colors:

From Etsy: BUY NOW: Chil Balance Bird

Chil Balance Sculpture: the mass and orientation of the wings creates a center of mass below this sleek bird's beak- making a system that will rotate and oscillate about a stable equilibrium. No magnets! An elegant sculpture by artist Bin Xu of BinDesign that comes ready to assemble complete with stand,

Heart Hologram Specs

Similar glases available here:

From Amazon: BUY NOW: Heart Hologram Specs

I ❤️ Holograms: put on these specs and every source of light gets a holographic image of a heart overlaid- in this case a candle flame and a dot from a red laser. Usually these kind of images need a point source of light, whereas these glasses put a heart image on every light- but they also make everything else a bit blurry! The "lenses" in these glasses are actually transmission holograms with the image located at the farthest point in the depth of field.


Giant Newton's Cradle

This industrial grade museum quality device available here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Giant Newton's Cradle

Regular sized Newton's cradles availabe here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Newton's Cradle

Newton's Cradle: industrial model made with galvanized aircraft cable, aircraft aluminum for the frame, and 1.5 inch one-half pound nickel plated chrome steel spheres. (0.23 kg and 3.8cm in diameter each) The classic demonstration that shows the curious behavior due to conservation of both momentum and kinetic energy. Swipe to see comparison to standard version.

Magnetic Cube

Many colors to choose from: 
From MagneticCube.com: BUY NOW Magnetic Dice Cube 

See also the original indestructibles post: Magnetic Acrylic Rubik's Cube 

Magnetic Cube: a twisty Rubik’s Cube puzzle made from 27 dice and 108 neodymium magnets. This cube includes the scrambled states and solutions of the original 3x3 Rubik’s Cube but is held together only by magnets! The magnets, in this special configuration, lock the dice together with a satisfying click upon rotation. This beautiful cube was produced by Owen Lillywhite of magneticcube.com and is based on a gfixler design posted on instructables.

Arch Balance Toy

Get this elegant toy here:

From Ludu Ludi in Spain: Nivana Balance Toy

Arch Balance Toy: this elegant sculpture toy seemingly defies gravity- a careful placement of the pendulum will locate the center of mass of the arch + pendulum system directly above the 1cm wide foot of the arch, creating a state of unstable equilibrium. No magnets used or needed for this physics! Hang and balance your favorite object from this arch. Made in Spain by Pico Pao, the Nirvana balance toy come with an old fashioned throwing top as the pendulum bob.


Water Drop Pulse Kinetic Sculpture

Art by Philippe Bouveret available here:
From the artist: BUY NOW philippebouveret.com 

Water Drop Pulse Kinetic Sculpture: “Heart In A Bottle” is a kinetic art sculpture by Philippe Bouveret that utilizes the amazingly strong surface tension and adhesive properties of water. Two halves of a heart are attached to a wire spring which is periodically pulled together in a zipper like fashion by a single drop of water (as seen in 240 flp slow motion). The engineered system in the top bulb emits a water drop that adheres to the two wires, and as it falls surface tension pulls and connects the spring wires, which stay stuck together until gravity pulls down and thins the water coating enough such that the spring force can overcome the water’s adhesion. The halves of the heart then undergo vibrations that damp out until another drop forms in a process that repeats a few times a minute. 

STORY Clock

This very high-tech clock is also high end (more expensive than most items I feature), with excellent craftmaship and technology that is clearly hard to replicate so that it is only made by, and available from, the FLYTE team:

From Art of Play: BUY NOW: Story Clock

From FLYTE: BUY NOW: US & Global Sales Story Clock or in EU Story Clock

STORY Clock: a spherical magnet hovers one centimeter from the face of this amazing clock and orbits in a circle to indicate the time- for this video I selected an orbit period of 40 seconds to show off the motion. The orbit of the magnetic ball can be set to any period but also has default selectable presets to indicate the current hour, minute, or second. This kind of levitation uses a 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. Amazing magnetic levitation physics demonstrated by clever engineering by the @flyte.se team, this clock will work lying flat or hung on a wall vertically!