kinetic Art

RGB Ocean

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Click here for similar RGB books: Illuminature Book
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Also: Illuminature DinosaursIlluminature World Atlas, and Illuminature Anatomy

RGB Ocean: A collage of sea creatures fills this artwork by Carnovsky design studio which is actually comprised of three layers of images which can be seen separately by viewing through color filters- blue, green, and red. This image came with a quality 500 piece jigsaw puzzle of the same design and the three sets of color filter eyewear. Another great demonstration of the physics and psychophysics of color vision.

Tapered Mirror Kaleidoscopes 

These precision kaleidoscopes are crafted from front surface mirrors and other specialty materials, many with innovative design and construction techniques:

From Etsy: BUY NOW: Kaleidoscopes by Marc Tickle

See more kaleidoscopes in my collection.

Tapered Mirror Kaleidoscopes: hidden within these colorful tubes are tapered 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. The first design uses 3 mirrors to create the hexagonal symmetries, the second design uses 4 mirrors to produce the infinite cylinder effect. These unique teleidoscope designs are but two 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. 

Tapered 4-Mirror Kaleidoscope

These precision kaleidoscopes are crafted from front surface mirrors and other specialty materials, many with innovative design and construction techniques:

From Etsy: BUY NOW: Kaleidoscopes by Marc Tickle

Tapered 4-Mirror Kaleidoscope: not CGI- these images are produced by mirrors and light! Hidden within this colorful tube are 4 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. Entitled “Dichroic Disco” this piece is but one of many amazing creations by artist Marc Tickle, taking kaleidoscope design to the next level. Invented by the famous Scottish physicist Sir David Brewster (1781-1868), the kaleidoscope is an ultimate physics toy and entire field of artistic endeavor.

Precision Machined Haptic Fidget

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Precision Machined Haptic Fidget: four identical stainless steel components precision manufactured to 15µm tolerances via wire EDM (electrical discharge machined) and embedded with magnets to produce a stepped locking mechanism for a haptic sensory experience. The rainbow finish is due to a very thin layer of oxidized titanium produced by a process called physical vapor deposition (PVD) where a molecule thin coating is created under vacuum. So much interesting physics in the many production methods used to make this everyday carry fidget. 

Spirograph Animator

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Spirograph Animator: a turntable adds an ingenious embellishment to this classic math toy. When the centerpiece is put into rotation a strobe light turns on and the cyclic designs spring into a complex dance. Spirographs produce mathematical roulette curves called hypotrochoids, cyclical designs that repeat at varying integer multiples. When the strobe light frequency, and rotation frequency, match up with an integer multiple of one of the patterns, that roulette curve appears stationary while the other patterns stay in motion. Shown here is but one combination of many possible overlapping patterns that can be produced by the supplied set of gears and colored pens. 

1790 Terrestrial Globe by Mova

Available for all the planets and several versions of Earth: 
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Mova Globes: all types 

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Mova Globes: 1790 Terrestrial

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Mova Globes: all types 

Octopus Stand available here:
From Etsy-pyrofarms: BUY NOW OctoStand in Metal

1790 Terrestrial Globe by Mova: rotating counterweighted globe sealed within a clear liquid filled acrylic sphere. The rotation in a Mova globe is powered by light that shines through the semi-transparent map image on to solar cells within the globe which drive a motor. But what does the motor push against to maintain the rotation? Believe it or not it uses magnets to push against the Earth's magnetic field like a compass needle. Wonderful physics of all kinds in the design of this clever device. The featured map is a faithful recreation of a globe famous for its accuracy at the time by Giovanni María Cassini and highlights the voyages of James Cook.


Polarized Light Cell Kaleidoscope

Click here for affordable, precision made scopes with angled mirrors: Kaleidoscope Symmetries Explored

Similar Kaleidoscopes available here:

From Amazon: BUY NOW Fluid Flow Kaleidoscope 
From Etsy: Fluid Flow Kaleidoscope

See more kaleidoscopes in my collection: Kaleidoscopes

Polarized Light Cell Kaleidoscope: the amazing colors you see from the object cell of this 3 mirror kaleidoscope are generated by manipulating the polarization of light- the object in the clear wand is a strip of clear cellophane in oil which has the property of optical rotation. These property allows for an incredible range of color formation when placed between two linear polarization filters (swipe for demonstration). A creation of kaleidoscope artist Ron Kuhns.

Hoptimist Desk Toy

Available in many designs here:

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Hoptimist Desk Toy: this jovial little guy displays damped harmonic motion- mostly up and down with a slight coupling to horizontal motion- such that his eyes and nose trace out ellipses. A very silly application of Hooke’s law of springs brings this famous Danish design to life. The toy featured is a Bumble Hoptimist created by Hans Gustav Ehrenreich and sold and manufactured since 1968.

Mercury Fountain of Calder

This fountain is on display here:

Visit: Fundació Joan Miró

Here is a discription of the artwork by the artist Calder himself.

See my other posts: cautious fun with mercury

Mercury Fountain: Some amazing physics fun from my January holiday in Barcelona- a fountain of flowing metal with 150 liters of mercury filling a two meter in diameter reflecting pool. This fountain is kinetic art created for the 1937 World’s Fair in Paris by the famous artist of mobiles, Alexander Calder, and features aspects of his trademark design. Given the density of mercury at 13.5 g/ml, the liquid in the fountain weighs in at roughly 2000 kg (4500 lbs), and at the bottom of the fountain Calder utilizes the small but massive droplets to impact a paddle which keeps the mobile components in motion. This work also has important historical significance as a political statement against injustice. Note that the top of the mobile includes, in cursive, Almaden, in remembrance of the mercury mining town that suffered under Franko’s siege during the Spanish Civil War in 1936. The fountain now sits behind thick sealed glass on display in the Joan Miró Foundation museum atop Montjuïc in Barcelona.

Convection Turbine Candle with Elephants 

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Convection Turbine Candle: pachyderms on parade via this whimsical tea-light candle holder which is actually a simple turbine heat engine where rotational motion results from the convection of hot air from the candle flame. All moving parts are of thin stainless steel with some assembly required. Energy transfer: chemical bonds- to heat- to kinetic energy of the rising air- to rotational kinetic energy of the turbine and elephants. 

Simple Polarimeter and Polarization Art

This DIY device is part of the polarization kit that you will get from a MEL Physics subscription:

Subscribe to: MEL Physics (click to see the contents of this great kit). 

Simple Polarimeter and Polarization Art: another amazing experiment from the MEL Physics polarization science kit. Geometric patterns of overlapping cellophane tape with color revealed when viewed with linear polarizing filters- create your own polarization art! This kit provides two linear polarizing sheets that when oriented at 90 degrees creates this device that reveals rainbows hidden within the patterns of polarization in the light transmitted by various objects. In the first video the layers of cellophane rotate the polarization of some light frequencies more than others. In the second video the polarimeter colorfully reveals the trapped internal stresses created in many plastics from their formation process (typically cooling of a liquid in a mold). All items shown included in this kit (plus much more). 

The Colorizer

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From BUY NOW: The Colorizer

The Colorizer: Our perception of color depends not only on the pigments and dyes embedded in objects and artwork, but also on the frequency of the illuminating light. The Colorizer uses multiple LEDs to morph the intensity (and mix) of the emitted frequencies through various rhythmic patterns- which then animate any still image comprised from a bright color palette. Swipe for a few examples. A creation of Miles Warren of ColorimetryLights. Images: 1- Zebra (Loren Shaw) 2- Colorimetry logo 3- Pentomino Tiling 1.0 (R Hall) 4- AlienPattern (Brent Johnson)

Kinetic Sandscapes by KB

Sandscape art from Klaus Bösch available here:

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Follow this link to learn more about Mr. Bösch's art (since 1988)

Kinetic Sandscape: by Klaus Bösch, aka “The Sandman”, the originator of the sand+water+bubble form of these kinetic art pieces. The phenomenon of spontaneous stratification is a striking feature of these Sandpictures. Typically pouring stuff together results in further mixing, yet here, when the sand mixture descends through a gap in the air bubbles, the resulting pile is ordered into sorted layers. The larger rounded dark grains separate from the smaller sharp-edged white grains forming the layers you see here. The darker grains alone would stack into a steeper pile (larger angle of repose) than the white which would form a less steep pile. The stratification process is a slow one in this device, here each transformation takes about 40 minutes or more- shown here using iPhone time lapse. 

Spacemen Ramp Walker

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Ramp Walker Toy: dragged to the edge but never over. Patented in 1888, this toy exhibits complex motion with very simple construction, and uses physics to stop right at the edge. Note that as these space-suited explorers approach the edge, the direction of pull becomes straight down with no horizontal component to maintain forward motion.

Filpbook Astronomy

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Flipbook Astronomy: often static images are insufficient to explain complex motion, and before there was YouTube, animations of astronomical concepts were hard to come by- except for this 1971 astronomy textbook! The author of this text included eight flipbook animations in the margins. Swipe to see three animations 1) what the Big Dipper will look like after 100,000 years “time lapse”, 2) the path of Jupiter in the sky over the course of one year, and 3) the motion of the Earth and Moon over a one month period as their center of mass orbits the Sun. An excellent textbook for its time: Dynamic Astronomy by Robert T Dixon, Prentice Hall. The psychophysics of flipbooks: when the image flash rate is above the flicker fusion frequency (approximately 16Hz) we perceive fluid motion- the basis for all movies and TV. 

Magnetic Tensegrity Table

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From BUY NOW: Magnetic Tensegrity Table

See similar scupltures here: Tensegrity on @physicsfun

Folow this link for Mova kinetic globes:  Mova Globes- Earth and Planets

Magnetic Tensegrity Table: This CNC machined tensegrity sculpture replaces the center tension member (chain) with a pair of attracting neodymium magnets. Made from 6061 aluminum and nickel plated steel chain, the “Impossible Table” is the creation of Kevin Sayers of The table can support up to about a kilogram of mass, and makes for a nice display stand for my Mova globe of Pluto (swipe to view). Another fun configuration of the tensegrity concept, invented by Kenneth Snelson and made famous by the architect Buckminster Fuller in 1949.