Art of Play

Art of play

Art of Play offers the highest quality playing cards, puzzles, amusements, and physics toys. 
 
Where epiphanies await the curious mind! 

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Art of Play Catalog

 

Buda Ball

Only made by the Flyte team:

From Art of Play: Buda Ball

Note: this site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated

Buda Ball: my favorite powered levitation device- and the only system I know of that will suspend in a horizontal direction as seen in this video. A spherical magnet is pinned 1.5 centimeters from the surface of its hardwood base. Within the base is an innovative control system with adjustable electromagnet coils in a feedback loop with Hall effect sensors (I assume) which allow for fine tuning of a magnetic field to precisely balance the pull of gravity- even when the base is in a vertical orientation! 

Tree & Mushroom Top Set

From Art of Play: BUY NOW: Woodland Top Set

See other flip over tops here: Tippe-Tops

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Tree and Mushroom Top Set: a whimsical woodland scene with two surprises- a flip-over tippe-top (mushroom) and a conical Tree shaped top that is more stable spinning on its trunk than its top. This set is made in Austria and comes with a branch wood stand.

 


Jack in the Box Puzzle

Order this amazing puzzle here:

From Craighill & Art of Play: Order Now: Jack in the Box

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Jack in the Box Puzzle: eight solid aluminum pieces form a textured cube when carefully stacked- yet the same eight pieces can also be packed around a six pronged “jack” to form a second smooth silver cube that is barely larger that the first. Similar to the 2D Matsuyama’s paradox puzzle, a small square is centered on each face of the cube in the second solution. Some stages of assembly shown here under rotation to emphasize the beautiful symmetries in the design and avoid spoilers to the challenge. Created by Rod Bogart and engineered into existence by the talented folks at @craighillcompany, and I send a hearty thank you to my friends at @artofplay for sending me this unique and special puzzle. 

Impossible Bolt

Only available from these aritist/craftsmen: 

From Art of Play: BUY NOW: Impossible Bolt & Nuts

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Impossible Bolt: one nut threads on clockwise as normal- the other threads on counterclockwise on the same bolt! Not impossible- but carefully engineered and machined. Swipe for partial hint on mechanism. This puzzling curiosity was inverted by Scott Eliott and machined in solid brass by puzzle crafters Steve Nicholls and Ali Morris of TwoBrassMonkeys.

Nova Plexus Interlocking Puzzle

Precision machined and available in brass or stainless steel:

From Art of Play: BUY NOW: Nova Plexus Puzzle

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Nova Plexus Puzzle: 12 identical brass rods can create 4 interlocking triangles in a perfect symmetry- look carefully and you can see that each rod is in an identical configuration with the 5 others that connect with it. Precision machined notches on the ends of the rods allow them to interlock with elastic tension such that vector sum of the 5 forces on each rod is zero- creating this astonishing geometry as the equilibrium state. Unlock the ends of any two rods and the system instantly disassembles (swipe to view process in slow motion). Invented/designed by artist and computer scientist Geoff Wyvill in 1978, this puzzle has just recently been made available for sale with a limited production run.


Sp!n Top

Get a Sp!n Top here:

From Art of Play: BUY NOW:  Sp!n Top

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Sp!n Top: once set into motion the eye only perceives the punctuation mark ! in the center of a ring, with the vertical line seemingly suspended in space above the dot. The rate of spin is above the flicker fusion threshold of human vision, and the crossbars become blurred out and invisible- the effect is even more pronounced in person (hard to capture on video). Physics and psychophysics combine to produce this wonderful illusion!

Cafe Wall Illusion Trivet

Get this well made woodworked illuson here:
From Art of Play: BUY NOW: Kellar Trivet

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More on the second illusion: Skye Cafe Illusion

Café Wall Illusion Trivet: slide half the bars and to the right the lines look parallel and straight, slide them back to the left and the illusion of crookedness returns. Note that even after we verify the lines are parallel, our perception still misleads- a reminder that we need science to transcend the limits of our senses and cognition. A creative woodworked trivet for the kitchen table by Tony Potter. Swipe to view an award winning version of this illusion by Victoria Skye. 

 

Dot Animation Card

Five animations to choose from- collect them all!

From Art fo Play: BUY NOW: Dot Animation Cards

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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.


Crushmetric Holographic Foil Pen

Available here:

From Crushmetric: BUY NOW: Crushmetric Pen

From Art of Play: BUY NOW: Switch Pen

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Crushmetric Holographic: the Switch Pen with diffractive rainbow foil- functional kinetic art based on materials science and tessellation origami techniques. The crushed state can be reversed over and over in this incredible design by artist/inventor Noah Deledda, also known for his similar sculptures created from aluminum cans. 

Kostick Stars

Two versions available here: 
From Art of Play: BUY NOW: Kostick's Stars 

Note: this site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated

Here is the detail of the connections of the 6 star from the patent document: 
 
Learn more about John Kostick here: John and Jane Kostick handcrafted mathematical constructions

Kostick Stars: The geometric forms of these kinetic sculptures snap into place due only to the balanced tension forces between thear slightly bent bronze wires. The large star is comprised of six struts, each made of 5 wires, which are made to intersect and weave though each other with beautiful geometric regularity. Similarly the small star has 4 struts each made of 3 wires. The ends of the 6 struts of the large star become the 12 vertices of an icosahedron, and the ends of the 4 struts of the small star point to the 8 corners of a cube. Both stars can be collapsed along many of the symmetry axes. Invented and patented in 1970, these stars are still produced and sold by artist and designer John Kostick. 

Dymaxion Map

Get one there:

From Art of Play: BUY NOW: Dymaxion Folding Globe

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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”.


Mezmoglobe

These globes are now available in three colors: 
From Art of Play: BUY NOW: Mezmoglobe Kinetic Object 

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Mezmoglobe: precision machined kinetic desk toy with helical motion illusion. Give this metal sphere a spin and the imparted angular momentum (along with precision bearings) allows for sustained rotation. The spiral design converts rotational motion to translational motion, and imparts the illusion that fluid like ripples are traveling along the metal surface. Another intriguing design by Kristoph Krisjans.

LessMore Bowls

Available here: 
From Art of Play: BUY NOW LessMore Bowls 
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Learn more about this illusion and its history on the Wikipedia page: Jastrow Illusion 

LessMore Bowls: (non-physics post) these serving dishes by @artofplay are a 3D version of the famous Jastrow Illusion, where the lower curve always appears larger than the top one. Note that even after we verify the bowls are the same size, our perception still misleads- a reminder that we need science to transcend the limits of our senses.

CUMOS Cube Kaleidoscope

The CUMOS Cube is a creation of artist Minori Yamazaki. Available for purchase- inquire via the contact info below:

From Etsy: BUY NOW: Cosmos in a Box

Fron Art of Play: BUY NOW:  Cosmos in a Box

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CUMOS Cube: a variation on the Kaleidoscope by artist @minori.yamazaki that produces a Cosmos in a box. So much wonder hidden within this unassuming white cube where etchings on front surface mirrors produce the repeating geometric patterns. A moving light source (led flashlight) is projected on the cube producing the dazzling animation effect on the multiple reflections. 


Strobe Coin Spinning Top

These are not just tops, but works of art. Available in Copper and in Silver! 
From Art of Play: BUY NOW  Strobe Coin

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Strobe Coin Spinning Top: beautiful coin tops made of solid copper and silver display a remarkable spinning strobe pattern when viewed on video from a smartphone. Incredible art/physics from @shirepostmint that takes advantage of aliasing and the wagon-wheel effect. The black enamel pattern on the top of the coin is specifically designed to interact with the frame rate of the video process to produce the intricate motions of the concentric circle patterns seen here, and on the back of the coin a starburst pattern provides similarly interesting effects. These coins can be spun on both sides with spin times reaching 12 minutes! The contact points are super hard spheres of silicon nitride black ceramic (Si3N4) providing a low friction bearing. 

Shashibo Geometric Art

From Art of Play: BUY NOW: Shashibo Geometric Art

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Shashibo Geometric Art: dissect a cube into 12 equal irregular tetrahedra, connect these pieces symmetrically with hinges, and add 36 magnets to create a device with more that 70 geometrically interesting and aesthetic configurations. 

The Square Wave

Own this scuplture by Ivan Black (made in collaboration with Italian manufacture house Atellani): 
From Art of Play: BUY NOW Square Wave 

Note: this site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated

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.