kinetic Art

Noble Gas Display and Tesla Coil

Get this display (Tesla Coil included!) here:
From Engineered Labs: BUY NOW: Noble Gas Display

Glowing Noble Gas Collection: five noble gasses are subjected to the high frequency electric field of a miniature Tesla coil. Encased in acrylic and carefully labeled, this spectacular display collection is the creative work of Tim and Cory Marriott of Engineered Labs Protoshop LLC- and each display comes with this Tesla coil! The high frequency/high voltage field of the coil transmits energy through the thick acrylic to excite the atoms of these gases, revealing the unique color of each gas, which is actually due to a mix of photon frequencies emitted from electron energy transitions specific to each element- the basis of spectroscopy.

Caustic Projection Optical Element

This optical element is a component of this affordable Laser show device:
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Aurora Laser Show Projector

Get this beautiful new color of laser pointer here: 
From eBay: BUY NOW: 488nm Laser Pointer (Cyan)

Caustic Projection Optical Element: the intricate geometries of light due to refraction through various curved surfaces of transparent plastic. A 488 nm cyan laser pointer is refracted through an optical element with lumpy surface features which create this aurora/nebula effect. When light rays refract through a curved surface they concentrate into bright patches called caustics, often with cusp singularities (sharp points) and intricate threads of shadow. 

Maxwell's Top

Available from my friends at Grand Illusions Ltd.: 
From Grand Illusions: BUY NOW Maxwell's Top with Spiral 

Maxwell’s Top: a new miniature version of one of my favorite demonstrations of the strange properties of rotating bodies- based on a famous experiment by the great physicist James Clerk Maxwell. When this bell shaped brass top is spinning an interesting stability can occur- push on the stem with an object and the top will push back, forcing the stem against that object, and friction will cause the stem to roll along and trace the edge of the object. In this design the stem will trace along the edge of a metal spiral, clinging to it like a magnet- but magnets are NOT involved here. The key to this design is to make the contact point/tip of the top at its own center of mass, then any frictional force in contact with the stem will produce a torque about the contact point at right angle to the direction of friction that creates the stabilizing force (students of physics may recognize application of the right hand rule here). An extreme physics toy- beautifully designed and crafted by Kontax Engineering Ltd

Half Seirpinski Octahedron Fractal

Get this amazing 3D print here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Seirpinski Pyramid

or print it yourself:
From Thingverse: Seirpinski Pyramid

Half Sierpinski Octahedron Fractal: this 3D printed math sculpture is one half of the sixth iteration of what is called “the octahedron flake” a 3D fractal based on the Sierpinski triangle. To make this fractal, on each iteration an inverted triangle is removed from the center of the previous triangle, and if this process is repeated indefinitely one gets the famous fractal. This 3D print used rainbow silk PLA to create the beautiful color gradient base on the .stl files by Rick Tu. Another example of math brought to life via 3D printing! 



This item came to me in my Summer 2022 Curiosity Box subsciption:
Get (or give!) a Curiosity Box subscription here: JOIN NOW: The Curiosity Box

A nice larger glass version is available from this trusted seller:
From PhysicsHack: BUY NOW: Vortex Dome Kalliroscope 

Hydrodome: kinetic art with rheoscopic fluid in a rotating base. This spin-able kalliroscope, from @thecuriositybox, is an amazing device that allows one to generate and visualize typically invisible fluid flows. Tiny flakes of mica are suspended in the fluid such that a bright light source reveals complex and beautiful transient structures- similar to those seen in the spiral arms of galaxies or the cloud bands of gas giants like Jupiter. Congratulations to the VSauce team for manufacturing yet another amazing device! 

Triple Pendulum Chaotic Fidget 

Get this chaotic fidget spinner here:

From Amazon: BUY NOW: Triple Pendulum Spinner

Triple Pendulum Chaotic Fidget: This interesting spinner is made from stainless steel and features three physical pendulums each mounted with their own low friction bearing. In slow motion one can see the kinetic energy and angular momentum is transferred from one pendulum to another as the entire device rotates, with some spinning rapidly and others rotationally at rest- the intricacies chaotic motion, characterized by extreme sensitivity to initial starting conditions, tiny differences in how the system is released leads to dramatically different outcomes each time.

Rolling Uphill Illusion

Availabel here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Uphill Ramp Illusion

or get the 3D print file here:
From Thingverse: Download Now: Uphill Illusion

Learn more: The amazing illusions of Kokichi Sugihara
See the many other Sugihara Illusions: in my collection

Rolling Uphill Illusion: the ball bearings seemingly roll uphill as if attracted by magnets of some kind. What’s going on? Swipe for reveal as it is truly a matter of perspective. A wonderful take on an illusion invented by Kokichi Sugihara of Meiji University. 3D printed by my good friend @zathras5 (Roger Key) from a file designed by Julian Hardy. 

Skybox Photopolymer 360 degree Hologram

These vintage holograms are available on eBay-- Batman, Superman, and others: 
From eBay: BUY NOW Skydisc Animated Hologram 

Skybox 360° Photopolymer Hologram: an amazing demonstration of holography- Batman from the Saga of the Dark Knight card series 1994. The 3D image by Skybox International comes to life by rotating the card to reveal an animated 360 degree view. Unlike photographs, holograms are recordings of the interference pattern of light waves, and this encoded information is stored in a layer thinner than a sheet of paper. Here the interference pattern encodes a moving 3D image which is then reanimated by illumination with a point source of light, and viewing from an appropriate angle. Looks even more stunning in person! 

Specular Hologram Knot

Learn more about this art form here:
Zintaglio Arts: Holography by Matt Brand
Click here: to see other specular hologoraphy in my collectiuon.
The full details of the math in this process are described in this paper by Brand

Specular Hologram Knot: this complex 3D image is created by etched grooves that reflect a point source of light as glints, and each eye sees a slightly different pattern such that, via stereopsis, the shiny points appear to float above or below the surface. Complex mathematical equations must be solved to compute the shape of the thousands curves that are scratched into the surface of the metal plate. The artwork featured here is a creation of Matt Brand of Zintaglio Arts. 



Phenakistiscope Spinner Set

Get these amazing spinners from aPyroDesign;

From Etsy: BUY NOW: Animation Spinners

Phénakisticope Spinner Set: two spinners- one a laser cut and printed acrylic with a set of images similar to the animation design of a flip book (but in a repeating cycle)- and the second a black disk with thin slit openings. Spin them in opposite directions and then look through the black disk at the first to reveal an animated image, in this case a running stick person. The effect looks better in person in that the frame rate of the video capture process adds some artifacts. Using the second black disk like this turns the spinners into a phenakistiscope, the 1833 invention that started moving media animation that lead to the development of movies and video. Under very bright light the animation can also be seen using a smartphone camera in video mode, but the black disk allows one to see the animation without such technology.

Kinetic Wonder Rings

Assorted colors to choose from:

From Sling True: BUY NOW: Kinetic Wonder Rings

Kinetic Wonder Rings: a skill toy that features small rings that “roll” down a thicker steel ring while producing a distinctive ringing chatter sound as they go. Swiping the small rings gets them spinning and gives them angular momentum. Centripetal acceleration then keeps the inside of the small rings in contact with the steel ring so that they roll around as they descend (seen here in 240fps slow motion). The challenge is to rotate the large ring fast enough to keep the small rings in motion. A new take on the “Jitter Gyro Ring” 1990s skill toy craze, produced by Sling True toys.


From eBay: Search NOW: Kalliroscopes 

Click this link for the best Kalliroscope currently in production and available.

Kalliroscope: rheoscopic fluid reveals the convection currents generated by the heat emanating from fingertips. Invented and produced by Paul Matisse in the 1970s, suspended microscopic flat crystals of guanine reflect light and allow visualization of the fluid's motion. This rheoscopic fluid is special in that the guanine crystals are the same density as the tetrachloroethylene liquid so the crystals never settle to the bottom making the fluid reactive to showing the slightest movement.