All physicsfun toys

Photicular Dinosaur Book

From Kainen and Wollard: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Dinosaur: Photicular Book 

Click this link for the other amazing books in the series.

Photicular Dinosaur Book: the latest in the photicular series- this time with scientific reconstructions of ancient beasts! This amazing book of 8 astonishing moving and looping lenticular images is the creation of photographer/artist/inventor Dan Kainen where the moving images use Kainen's patented process where a specially processed image slides under a thin film of lenticular lenses. Kainen has teamed up this time with Kathy Willard who puts each image into context incorporating fun paleontology facts appropriate for kids yet informative to all.  

Specular Hologram on Vinyl

For the price of a vinyl LP you can own the amazing artwork of Tristan Duke. This album by Jack White is damn good as well (I also got the digital download with the vinyl purchase). 

From Amazon: BUY NOW Jack White Lazaretto (Vinyl) 

Specular Hologram on Vinyl: the album Lazaretto by Jack White features this amazing "scratch hologram" of a twirling angel (shown here accompanied by the opening bars from the title track of the album). The hologram was hand etched on the metal master by artist Tristan Duke of Infinity Light Science. The etched grooves reflect a point source of light as sharp glints and the groves are arranged so that each eye sees a slightly different pattern such that, via stereopsis, the shiny points appear to float above or below the surface. This album has a lot of other interesting features including dual grooves that allows for two different intros to one track (depending on where the needled is dropped) and side A plays from the inside out- fun! 

120 Sided Fair Dice

Get one here! Many colors to choose from. 
From Amazon: BUY NOW 120 sided dice 

he d120: mathematically this die has the maximum possible number of sides with equal area (discovered so far). Two mathematicians, Robert Fathauer and Henry Segerman, realized that the oddly named uniform convex polyhedron (disdyakis triacontahedron) had the needed geometry to make a 120 sided fair die. Like the familiar 6 sided die, the d120 has the following properties: every side must have equal area and the numbers on parallel sides (top and bottom) must sum to the same number. The inventors admit that they do not have any suggested use for these dice- they made them purely because mathematically it was possible to do so! 

Light Pipe

Get one here: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Display Stand Light Pipe 

Very inexpensive LASER pointers available here: 
From eBay: BUY NOW Green Laser Pointer 

Light Pipe: internal reflection constrains most of the laser light to propagate along the bent acrylic rod- the physics of fiber optics. This plastic stand is sold as a hanging ornament display- repurposed here as a great light-pipe demonstration. 

The PhiTOP

Get one here! 
From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW PhiTOP 
From Amazon: BUY NOW PhiTOP

The PhiTOP: spinning things often have surprising physics! This unique top is made of solid aluminum in the shape of a prolate elIipsoid- and the name of the top is derived from the following design requirement: the ratio of the semi minor (short) axis to the semi major (long) axis is made equal to the mathematical constant the golden ratio φ (phi). Invented by astrophysicist Kenneth Brecher, this top stands up vertically (when spun with sufficient rotational velocity) due to physics similar to that of the tippy-top. 

Levitron Revolution

Get the levitating/rotating platform here: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Levitron Revolution 
From eBay: BUY NOW Levitron Maglev Platform 

Versions of the floating rings illusion can be found at the Exploratorium, at the Carnegie Science Center
and is also famously featured in the 1981 Superman movie: 

Levitron Revolution: well engineered control system uses an adjustable electromagnet and and a Hall effect sensor to levitate an 8cm diameter neodymium magnet platform 5 cm in mid-air. The feedback loop allows fine tuning of the magnetic field to exactly balance the pull of gravity. The platform also rotates, perfect for this floating rings illusion sculpture I constructed. 

Climbing Sphere Spiral Illusion

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.

In-Feed Google

Aluminum Flip Top and Magnetic Stirrer

Inexpensive lab stirrers like this one can be used in many investigations and demonstrations: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Magnetic Stirrer 

Get a metal tippe-top here: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Metal Flip-Over Top 

Aluminum Flip Top and Magnetic Stirrer: dynamic magnetic fields from rotating neodymium magnets in the base induce electric currents to flow in the conducting aluminum of the top. These electric currents then produce an opposite magnetic field of their own via Lenz’s Law. With the top now having a temporary magnetic field the magnets in the stirrer can spin it up. Tippie-tops are a famous physics toy that flip over when spun at sufficient rpm. So much fun physics in a single demo! Credit to astrophysicist Kenneth Brecher, the creator of this unique means of spinning up objects via Lenz’s Law. 

Vintage Kinetic Art

Fun balance toy sculptures are available on Amazon: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Balance Sculpture Toys 

Vintage Kinetic Art: Eames era kinetic sculpture seemingly defies gravity as it glides in a graceful circle. The gold plastic sphere plus wire structure is designed such that its center of mass is few centimeters below the point of contact with its base. When the sculpture is tipped or spun, the center of mass swings under the pivot point in this stable equilibrium condition- no magnets needed to create this physics magic. 


Four versions to choose from! 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Kaleidograph 

Kaleidograph: hand held manipulable mathematical art. Stack, rotate, and flip two or more of these 12 double sided die cut cards into billions of possible arrangements! (30 shown here) A toy that integrates the math of combinatorics with the beauty of symmetry.

Bottle, Hoop, and Nail Trick

The hoop used is just the inner circle of an embroidery hoop. Get one for a couple dollars here: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Wooden Hoop 

The science writer Martin Gardner has published many books of physics tricks and simple but amazing science experiments like the one in this video. Highly recommended. 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Martin Gardner's Science Magic: Tricks and Puzzles 

Bottle, Hoop, and Nail Trick: with some practice, a snap of the wrist removes the hoop and the nail falls straight into the bottle. Newton's 1st Law as seen in slow motion- a mass at rest tends to stay at rest. (Best to watch with sound/audio) Balancing the nail on the hoop ensures the nail is directly over the top of the bottle. The hoop is removed so quickly that it does not interact significantly with the sufficiently massive nail, and thus the nail remains over the mouth of the bottle so that gravity pulls it in. G4G Week repost- a favorite from Martin Gardner’s collections of physics tricks. 

Tensegrity Icosohedron Toy: The Skwish

Available here in a variety of colors and wood types:

From Amazon: BUY NOW: Kwish Tensegrity Toy

Tensegrity Icosahedron Toy: an architectural engineering inspired toy for tots- believe it or not this design is sold as a toy for babies: the Skwish rattle by the Manhattan Toy Company. Six wood struts float isolated from each other but held in a stable configuration by a net of 24 connecting elastic cords. This configuration of three sets of parallel struts forms a Jessen’s icosahedron under tension, and was invented by the famous architect Buckminster Fuller in 1949. A physics toy for ages 0 and up! 

Star Wars Digital Hologram

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. 

Acrylic Refraction Art

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.