Art of Play

Uplift 2.0

This amazing device now available here: 

From ArtofPlay: BUY NOW: Uplift 2.0

Uplift 2.0: light powered kinetic sculpture with mesmerizing apparent translational motion due to rotation of a spiral element under glass and mounted on precision bearings. The rotation is propelled silently by a simple and elegant bidirectional motor- a disk shaped copper coil which interacts with an array of six neodymium magnets and powered by a single solar cell. The included hand held magnet allows one to select the direction of flow. A stunning creation for any windowsill by artist and inventor Tom Lawton. 

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Art of Play offers the highest quality playing cards, puzzles, amusements, and physics toys. 
 
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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!


Nova Plexus Interlocking Puzzle

Precision machined and available in brass or stainless steel:

From Art of Play: BUY NOW: Nova Plexus Puzzle

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.

Impossible Braid 

Get this nice example of mystery braid here:

From Art of Play: BUY NOW: Impossible Braid Key Fob

Here is a great video on how to make the mystery braid

See other Impossible Objects in my collection. 

Mystery Braid: challenge- how can three strands be braided if both sets of ends are connected? (swipe for reveal) A new addition to my collection of “impossible objects”, this leather key fob is braided from a single piece of leather, constructed by making two parallel slits but not cutting the ends. The solution is well known to those in the field of leatherwork- due to a twist of topology it’s possible to make this braid if the number of left strand over right crossings equals the times the right strand crosses over the left. Four strands braided this way is not mathematically possible, but 3, 5, or any odd number can be done!

 

 

Kostick Stars

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


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. 


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.

LessMore Bowls

Available here: 
From Art of Play: BUY NOW LessMore Bowls 

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.


The Physics of Tippe-Top Inversion

Get a nice tippe-top from this fine source: 

From Art of Play: BUY NOW Flip Over Tops

The Physics of Tippe-Top Inversion: spinning things often have surprising physics! From a talk I gave about this time last year at PhysicsCon 2020 held in Caltech’s Feynman Lecture Hall where I described the physics behind flip-over tops and other physics toys. In brief: friction with the surface provides a torque that acts on the existing angular momentum of the top to flip it over. The top will stay flipped until the spin rate slows down enough to where its center of mass pulls it back to the resting position. Inversion phase shown at 240fps- note the little hop the top takes as it goes on to its stem!

The Helicone

This manipulable kinetic art available here: 
From Art of Play: BUY NOW  The Helicone

The Helicone: an interactive kinetic sculpture designed by @john.edmark and distributed by playableArt. With a bit of practice I finally mastered the transformation in both directions: A snap of the wrist imparts angular momentum to the laser cut wood petals which then rotate until an internal mechanism stops their motion with predetermined spacing- a helix transforms to an abstract pine cone. A second snap of the wrist in the opposite direction returns the helix. 

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

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. 


Dymaxion Map

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 Square Wave

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. 

Mezmoglobe

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

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.


Toroflux

Here is an affordable version of this device: 
From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW Flow Ring 

The original version is available here: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Toroflux 

Get one and flow with it! 
From Art of Play: BUY NOW 
The Toroflux


Why does it look like a bubble when moving fast? Wikipedia has the details: when the object exceeds a certain speed the flicker fusion frequency of our vision produces the bubble illusion. 

The physics of the toroflux is wonderfully illustrated and explained in this article by Daniel Walsh. 

Toroflux: kinetic art toy made from a single continuous loop of stainless steel band. The band of spring metal is woven such that it forms a torus that can clamp on to and roll down a stick, segment of tubing, or even an arm. Amazing combination of math and kinetic art invented by Jochen Valett.

In-Feed Google

Tree & Mushroom Top Set

Avialble (in limited quantities) from these sellers:

From Artof Play: BUY NOW: Woodland Top Set

See other flip over tops here: Tippe-Tops

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.