These vintage watches are not too hard to find:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Borel Cocktail Watches
From eBay: BUY NOW: Borel Cocktail Watches
Moire Kinetic Watch: this beautiful timepiece is an Ernest Borel Cocktail pendant watch made in 1958 featuring the trademark rotating disk (instead of a second hand) which creates a kinetic radiant Moiré pattern. This vintage 17 jewel Swiss watch is old school- powered by a spring that must be wound once a day (elastic potential energy to kinetic).
Amazing application of high resolution far field holograms. The only available source I know of for projection holograms at this high resolution is this supplier of industrial samples
From MaterialSampleShop.com: Diffractive Optical Element Sample
Need a laser pointer? Incredibly, you can get 3 (one of each color) for under $20 (including S&H):
From Amazon: BUY NOW Red+Green+Purple Laser Pointer
Diffractive Optical Element: images produced by constructive and deconstructive interference of coherent laser light. The patches of microstructure on the surface of this transparent plastic are far field holograms- transmission holograms, but with the image at infinity. Side by side images from two different laser wavelengths (red 635 nm, green 520 nm) shows clearly the red image is larger than the green since diffraction angle is proportional the wavelength. So much physics here!
Get a PhoTOP here (comes with laser pointer!):
From Vat19: BUY NOW: PhoTOP
Another amazing spinning device by Prof. Ken Brecher! Get his other spinning tops here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: PhiTOP, PiTOP, eTOP, iTOP, DeltaCELT
The PhoTOP: phosphorescent glow illuminates the intricate path of a 405nm laser pointer beam on a balanced spinning disk. Let the disk set alone for a few minutes to allow the traces to fade- and repeat again and again to experiment making new patterns.
Get one here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW Wind Spinners
From eBay: BUY NOW Copper Wind Spash
Reflective Wind Spinner: this one translates rotating motion into a repeating expanding (or shrinking) circle. An interesting one of many ways to connect rotational motion to translational motion.
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”.
The kit includes the UV LED base, elegant glass sphere, and enough fluorescent gel for many repeat lights shows.
From PyroFarms: BUY NOW: FluoroSphere
From Amazon: BUY NOW: FluoroSphere
The FluoroSphere: intricate and dynamic lights shows are produced within an elegant glass sphere as fluorescent dyes in mineral oil slowly mix into room temperature water. Ultraviolet LEDs (in the base on which the sphere rests) make the dyes glow brightly and reveal the initial nondiffusive mixing structure which includes the phenomena of drops, plumes, and other features of Rayleigh-Taylor instabilities. Shown here, slightly sped up, is the first 8 minutes or so of the process which takes up to half an hour to mix evenly. The green light is characteristic of the famous fluorescein dye.
A new KickStarter campaign from engineer and maker extraordinaire Rian Suiter. Rian has delivered on each all 11 (eleven!) of his creative physics toy related KickStarter campaigns to date. Check out his latest here:
From KickStarter: Order NOW Orb Drop IV marble run track
The Orb Drop IV: @orbdrop has created another fun DIY marble run- this one uses an Archimedean screw mechanism to bring the marbles continuously back to the top where they are launched along one of three paths- including a vortex funnel. Gravitational potential energy is transformed to the kinetic energy of the orbs as they loop and negotiate the banked turns of the snaking tracks. Three AA batteries and a small motor power the transport assembly.
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.
Wikipedia has the details about the actual shape of the Earth: oblate spheroid planets
Here is an inexpensive toy that shows similar physics: Rainbow Twirler
Equatorial Bulge Demo: two springy circular rings flatten along their axis of rotation in proportion to the rate of spin in this classic teaching demonstration. This device demonstrates that centripetal accelerations applied to an elastic sphere will cause it to bulge at the equator- becoming an oblate spheroid. Isaac Newton predicted that given the Earth’s rotation, the radius to the equator would be larger than the radius to the North Pole by 1 part in 230. He was correct! (although overestimated slightly- swipe for description) Modern measurements indicate 1 part in 294.7. Question: At what location on Earth could you stand on land and be furtherest from its center? Mt Everest is a good guess, but the correct answer is the top of Mt Chimborazo in Ecuador. (swipe twice for details) Although Everest is higher above sea level, the equatorial bulge puts the top of Chimborazo a 2.2 km further into space from the center of the Earth.
Get some of these grow-spheres here:
From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW Growing Spheres
Super Absorbent Polymer: poly-acrylamide polymer crystals are able to absorb up to 200 times their volume of water. Here seven small spheres, approximately 4mm in diameter, were immersed in water for three hours, after which they were slightly more than 23mm across. The final gel sphere is more than 99.5% water- and they bounce!
Get this device here:
BUY NOW: 3 shuttle device
This device came in my Curiosity Box subscrition. A great way to start collecting your own physics toys (and other brain food):
From the Vsauce team: BUY NOW: The Curiosity Box (New box will ship soon- get a great deal now)
Get similar (two shuttle) devices here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW
Trammel of Archimedes
3-Shuttle Trammel of Archimedes: as the shuttles take turns completing their straight line journeys, the end of the crank arm traces an ellipse. This precision 3-shuttle version by the VSauce team came in my @thecuriositybox - made with high quality molded plastic parts that produce very smooth movement- a wonderful addition to my collection! Sometimes sold as a “do nothing machine” or “nothing grinder”, far from doing nothing this simple and crucially important mechanism demonstrates how rotational motion can be converted into translational oscillatory motion- such as how a piston can drive an engine’s crankshaft.
Get this inexpensive version that makes big sparks!
from Engine DIY: BUY NOW: Wimshurst Electrostatic Generator
Wimshurst Electrostatic Generator: this device uses two counter rotating disks of metal pads to separate charge via induction. The repulsion felt by electrons as the triangle plates pass by each other pushes charge to flow across two conducting rods, one on each side, which allows the charge to stack up. This excess charge is then stored in old fashioned cylindrical capacitors (Leyden Jars) until the resulting 30,000+ Volts is achieved to jump the air gap. This device goes back to 1883- invented by James Wimshurst
These prescision kaleidoscopes are crafted from front surface mirrors and other specialty materials, many with innovative desgin and construction techiques:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Kaleidoscopes by Marc Tickle
Tapered Mirror Kaleidoscope: hidden within this colorful tube are 3 mirrors, 2 rolling glass spheres, and 1 dichroic glass reflector. These elements combine to produce the dynamic and magical images seen through the view window as the device is slightly tilted back and forth and brought in and out of a bright light source. This unique teleidoscope design “Disco Dandelion” is but one of many creations by artist Marc Tickle. Invented by the famous Scottish physicist Sir David Brewster (1781-1868), the kaleidoscope is an ultimate physics toy and entire field of artistic endeavor.