All physicsfun toys

Perspective Anamorphosis

Get the Mind Games kit with 15+ amazing items including a balance bird and a rattleback! 
From Quirkology: BUY NOW Mind Games Set 
Also available here: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Mind Games Set 
From eBay: BUY NOW Mind Games Set 

Perspective Anamorphosis: oblique graphical projection creates a wonderful 3D illusion, implemented here with color printing and cutout card-stock. This illusion is part of the Mind Games set of illusions, physics toys, and psychological toys. Special thanks to Prof. Richard Wiseman, creator of Quirkology, for sending me this set! 

Trichroic Beam Splitter

Another amazing product by the Mr. Sci Science Toy Factory 
From Mr. Sci Science Toy Factory: Trichroic Prism 

Trichroic Beam Splitter: this cube of four prisms with dichroic optical coatings allows a beam of white light to be separated into red, green, and blue. Used in multi-element CCD array cameras and other optical instruments. Another amazing item from the product line of @mrscisciencefactory

Eames Era Kinetic Art

These vintage atomic art pieces are almost always available on eBay and Etsy: 
From eBay: BUY NOW Atomic Kinetic Art 
From Etsy: BUY NOW Kinetic Atomic Art 

Eames Era Kinetic Art: a spray of harmonic oscillators (masses on spring steel wire) produce hypnotic motion in this vintage art piece from the early 1970s. Kinetic sprays like this are mostly from designer Laurids Lonborg of Denmark and can also serve as earthquake detectors. Not recommended for households with cats!


These 1970s vintage items are sometimes available on eBay and Etsy: 
From eBay: Search NOW Magnetic Ball Sculpture 

From Etsy: BUY NOW Magnetic Ball Sculpture

Magni-Orb: kinetic art as oscillations about a magnetic equilibrium point. The base and sphere are carved from rosewood and have strong magnets embedded within them that produce an attraction. If the sphere is given some initial rotation it will exhibit complex orbits as the energy trades back and forth between potential energy and kinetic energy. The motion eventually damps out due to friction. A creation by Sven Petersen and imported by SAAP Denmark circa 1970. 

Hoberman Sphere

These are still in production and come in various sizes and colors: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Hoberman Spheres 

Hoberman Sphere: isokinetic structure. This special assembly of foldable linkages consisting of rigid bars and simple hinges is kinematically over constrained- motion can only occur along the radial direction and the movement of any hinge creates motion in all the joints. The engineering and physics behind deployable space structures! 

Diamagnetic Mini Hoverboard

Get one here: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW NeoLev Hoverboard 

Diamagnetic Mini Hoverboard: in this commercially available version a thin pyrolytic graphite sheet floats above a concave powerful neodymium magnet creating an environment with minimal friction- the thin sheet carrying a lightweight foam Hoverboard will swing back and forth for a couple minutes. By NeoLev- with a Back to the Future II theme! Diamagnetic substances develop temporary repulsive magnetic fields only when they are exposed to a magnetic field from another source. Graphite of this sort is the most diamagnetic substance known. 

CFL Color Change Glass

A variety of interesting CFL glass is available on Etsy: 
From Etsy: BUY NOW CFL Color Change Glass 

Here is a nice description of the science behind color change due to selective absorption

CFL Color Change Glass: this filigree pendent appears green, violet, dark green, and yellow under incandescent light, and clear, blue, purple, and pink under fluorescent light. Special pigments in the glass selectively absorb some frequencies of light while transmitting others, very similar to the color change properties of the gemstone alexandrite. The emission spectrum of a fluorescent lightbulb (a CFL bulb for this video) is deficient in the higher frequencies of the visible spectrum as compared to an incandescent bulb, so the selective absorption by the chemicals in the glass has a dramatic effect on what the eye perceives. Many types of CFL reactive glass, with a variety of color shifts, are now available on the market and go by brand names such as Serum, Potion, and Gemini (all used here) involving oxides of metals such as neodymium (purple/light blue) and holmium (yellow/pink). Thanks to @swanglass for creating this pendant of multiple CFL glass types for my collection.

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!

Planetary Gear Train

From Rail and Oak: the Esty shop of Logan Needham 
From Etsy: BUY NOW Planetary Gear System 

Planetary Gear Train: with non-circular gears! This piece of kinetic art features a 6-sided Sun Gear, six 3-sided Planetary Gears, all held within the 12-sided space of the Annular Gear. The video captures three of the many interesting modes of these epicylic gear systems: 1) holding the sun gear fixed while rotating the annular gear allows the planetary gears to orbit, 2) pinning the planetary gears such that they can spin (but not orbit) allows the sun gear to go in the reverse direction of the annular gear, 3) holding one planetary gear fixed produces curious motion- note that although the other planetary gears move they do not spin about their axes! Situation 2) is how reverse gear is accomplished in the transmissions of many vehicles. Thanks to Logan Needham (@pillagethenburn) for the ingenuous display stand that allows full demonstration of this work of physics and engineering art.

Oil Drop Timer

Get one here: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Dolphin Timer 

Oil Drop Timer with Dolphins: immiscible fluids of different densities stay separate under gravity with the lightest density on top. The density of the plastic dolphins is greater than the density of the top fluid but less than the density of the bottom fluid, so they stay at the boundary in equilibrium. The dolphins have a metal weight in their tails so that the buoyant force will keep them upright even as the liquids trade places (2 minutes shown in time-lapse). Archimedes' Principal at work here at multiple levels. 

Vortex Marble with Gilson Opal Sphere

Similar art glass available here: 
From Etsy: BUY NOW Vortex Marbles 

Vortex Marble with Gilson Opal Sphere: glass art intersects with the physics of optics in this spectacular piece from lampworking master Raven Copeland aka @madglasser -The clear glass face acts as a convex lens giving the illusion that the spiral goes deeper than the diameter of the marble. The illusion is even stronger in person and I'm still trying to figure out how Raven produces the amazing 3-D background features. 

In-Feed Google 6

Magneto Aerolux Xmas

Similar modern bulbs available here: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Holiday Aerolux Bulb 

Vintage working telephone magnetos available under $100 
From eBay: BUY NOW Magneto Generators 

Magneto Aerolux Xmas: Wishing all a luminous and Merry Chirstmas with a 1930s Aerolux neon discharge bulb powerd by a functioning antique 5 bar telephone magneto generator made in 1910. The generator creates 100+ Volt AC with such a low frequency one can see the polarity alter back and forth between the electrodes of the flickering bulb. More on vintage magneto physics in upcoming videos! The letters and background filament glow of the Aerolux bulb with light from the emission spectrum of excited neon. The tree glows green from a coating of phosphor which is stimulated to emit green light by the ultraviolet (and invisible) emission line photons from the excited neon atoms. 

Benton Hologram

These are available on eBay! 
From Ebay: BUY NOW Star Trek Rainbow Hologram 

Benton Hologram: also called a rainbow hologram which are often embossed on foil as means of production. Commonly found on credit cards and forms of currency as a method of anti-counterfeit security, this hologram of the Starship Enterprise is an especially nice example of this hologram type with striking 3D effect. Here the motion is produced by moving the point source of illumination (a halogen lamp). Amazing what manipulation of light interference can create! 

Balancing Bottles

Get one here: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Balance Bottle Dock 

Balancing Bottles: serve with physics style this season displaying this design where the combined center of mass of the wine rack and two bottles is directly above the base of the wood rack- because sometimes it takes two bottles of wine to bring life into balance! ?? 

Magneto Top

Available through Indiegogo here: 
From Indiegogo: ORDER NOW Tesla's Insight 

Magneto Top: a top that generates electricity and lights LEDs when spun. This top contains a strong dipole magnet which becomes the rotor in this alternator set up. A 1000 turn coil in the base can be adjusted so that the rapidly changing magnetic field of the top will induce an AC current in accordance with Faraday's law. The intensity of the light emitted from the LEDs in the base indicates how much current is being generated. Special thanks to Tobi Lee of @fireflylabs for sending me one of his Tesla's Insight tops. 


Available here: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Wobblo Toy 

Wobblo: curious kinetic art toy- a hollow plastic torus contains a rolling heavy steel ball within. The motions of the center of mass of the ball and torus combine dynamically- the resulting curious motion is related to the interplay between the exchange of kinetic and potential energy and conservation of angular momentum of the system. The concave mirror keeps the toy from rolling out of frame for the video. A simple system that leads to interesting and complex motion.