Get this inexpensive and silly toy here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Wacky Waving Inflatable Tube Guy
This power supply reccomended: BUY NOW: 9V power supply
Mini Waving Tube Guy: the physics of fluid dynamics describes the flopping behavior of the famous dancing tube guy. Bernoulli’s principle tells us that when air is moving with a velocity, the pressure in the region of the moving airmass is reduced. When the tube guy stands strait, air escapes through his head and arms allowing a temporary steady velocity of flow which reduces pressure inside and he collapses and bends. When the tube is bent, airflow is cut off, and the tube inflates like a balloon building pressure until air can again escape through the top- and the process cycles back and forth between these two states creating the iconic dance moves. This desktop version uses a 9V battery to power the fan.
Get an infinity cube here (many colors and sizes to choose from):
From Ricardo Churchill (Etsy): BUY NOW: Infinity Cube
Infinity Cube Sculpture: crafted from solid stainless steel and powder coated orange, the geometry of this mathematical sculpture is the perimeter of the faces of a cube traced by a nonintersecting connection of equal line segments. When viewed from a corner, a cube has a hexagonal cross section, and some may recall the famous logo of Silicon Graphics computers based on such an infinity cube (a design by Scott Kim). Rotating this “tubed cube” along a diagonal axis reveals the interesting symmetries of this geometric construction.
From Amazon: BUY NOW
Acrylic Rain Stick
From eBay: BUY NOW
Acrylic Rain Stick
Get the spectrum analysis app here: SpectrumView - Oxford Wave Research Ltd.
Wikipedia has nice articles about white noise and other colors of noise described with the math of spectrum analysis
High Tech Rain Stick: white noise- the sound of two thousand metal spheres falling and bouncing through a plastic labyrinth creates a power spectrum of sound waves with all frequencies at equal intensity, creating the shhh sound we often encounter from many random processes. Part of the cascade slowed to 240 FPS midway through video.
Many designs to choose from- all with precision aligned high quality front surface mirrors:
From Etsy store Colorado Scopes : BUY NOW Precision Teleidoscopes
Fine art kaleidoscopes avaibable here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Fine Art Kaleidoscopes
Get a Gyrobi here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW
Gyrobi Kinetic Toy
Kaleidoscope Symmetry Physics: Two adjacent mirrors form the repeating image of a kaleidoscope, but the shape of the image is determined by the angle between the mirrors. This principle is demonstrated with three different symmetrical patterns using this beautiful set of precision teleidoscopes- angles of 36° (blue tube), 30° (green tube), and 22.5° (red tube), creating mandala stars with 5, 6, and 8 points. The angle for any symmetric star pattern of n points is just 180°/n. A teleidoscope is a kaleidoscope but with a lens on the end, such that the kaleidoscopic image is formed by whatever is put in front of it. Here the complex motion of a Gyrobi toy is used as the observation object.
The DIY version can be assemebled with these parts. Steel wire of guage 10 or 12 should work well.
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Quilting Hoop, Neodyumium Magnet, Steel Wire
Magnetic Hoops Suspension Sculpture: Steel circles are suspended by a magnet (black sphere) and held down to the base by a thin thread. The tops of the steel hoops, being ferromagnetic, become a north pole in the presence of the south pole end of the black magnet, so they are attracted to the black magnet, but repel each other. Made by Rathcon Inc. in 1970. Swipe to see my DIY version made from a quilting hoop, neodymium magnets, and some bailing wire.
Get this device here:
BUY NOW: 3 shuttle device
This device came in my Curiosity Box subscrition. A great way to start collecting your own physics toys (and other brain food):
From the Vsauce team: BUY NOW: The Curiosity Box (New box will ship soon- get a great deal now)
Get similar (two shuttle) devices here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW
Trammel of Archimedes
3-Shuttle Trammel of Archimedes: as the shuttles take turns completing their straight line journeys, the end of the crank arm traces an ellipse. This precision 3-shuttle version by the VSauce team came in my @thecuriositybox - made with high quality molded plastic parts that produce very smooth movement- a wonderful addition to my collection! Sometimes sold as a “do nothing machine” or “nothing grinder”, far from doing nothing this simple and crucially important mechanism demonstrates how rotational motion can be converted into translational oscillatory motion- such as how a piston can drive an engine’s crankshaft.
These prescision kaleidoscopes are crafted from front surface mirrors and other specialty materials, many with innovative desgin and construction techiques:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Kaleidoscopes by Marc Tickle
Tapered Mirror Kaleidoscope: hidden within this colorful tube are 3 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. This unique teleidoscope design “Disco Dandelion” is but one 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.
The Actuator mechanism is out of production but can still be found on eBay, comes with power supply, Expandagon kit, and connecotors that snap on to a Hoberman Spjere.
From eBay: BUY NOW: Hoberman Actuator
The spheres are still in production and come in various sizes and colors:
From Amazon: BUY NOW Hoberman Spheres
Hoberman Actuator with Sphere: This actuator mechanism creates kinetic art out of a Hoberman sphere, designed to smoothly expand and contract the isokinentic structure. The Hoberman sphere itself is a 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!
This wonderful piece is available from the artist here:
From Rafael ParraToro: BUY NOW: Kinetic Boom
Kinetic Boom!- a spectacular Moiré kinetic art piece by artist/engineer/innovator Rafael Parra-Toro @parratoro which creates motion animation using the barrier-grid technique on a slab of acrylic. Stripes on the front form effects of constructive and deconstructive interference with the interlaced colorful image printed on the back to create motion as the viewer’s perspective changes. A turntable display (swipe for vid) reveals the animation with a continuous and fluid interpretation. A wonderful addition to my collection of kinetic art.
Get the inexpensive turntable here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Display Turntable
A high quality 3D print (with steel marbles) available here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Marble Run Fun
Or print it yourself: From Thingiverse: Cyclone Marble Run
Marble Run 3D Print: a design that looks like it came off the page of a Dr. Seuss book has rolling marbles doing tricks down 3 tracks as potential energy of gravity is converted to kinetic energy. In this mini-marble run a fingertip (or end of a pen) powers an auger conveyor (Archimedes' Screw) to bring the marbles back to the top. A wonderful and whimsical designed by Øyvind Kaurstad.
Get this very nice laser cut version here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Desk Wobbler
Check out my posts on similar geometric objects: developable rollers
Wobbler Roller: a very simple toy today- two half circle perimeters affixed at right angles which surprisingly can then roll in a straight line with a peculiar wobble motion. When rolling, a wobbler always touches the table top at two points which could be connected by a straight line, and forms the frame of the geometric shape called a sphericon (featured in a previous post).
Professor Brecher has a limited supply of these "golden" (brass) versions of this top available on Etsy
From Etsy: BUY NOW PhiTOP in Brass
Aluminum version available here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW phiTOP
The ΦTop - Golden Version: spinning things have surprising physics! This unique top is made of solid brass in the shape of a prolate elIipsoid- and the name of the top is derived from the following design requirement: the ratio of the semi minor (short) axis to the semi major (long) axis is made equal to the mathematical constant the golden ratio φ (phi). Invented by astrophysicist Kenneth Brecher, this top stands up vertically (when spun with sufficient rotational velocity) due to physics similar to that of the tippe-top. The concave mirror keeps the top from wandering off and the glass surface has minimal friction allowing the top to spin for a long time- this video shows various stages of 8 minutes of total spin time.
A DIY kit by the makers of Lava Lamp, home experimentation set with booklet of ideas to try:
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Lava Lamp LED Vortex kit
From eBay: BUY NOW: Lava Lamp LED Vortex kit
Vortex Lamp: a simple whirlpool powered by a magnetic stirrer like those in a chemistry lab and lit by LEDs. A DIY kit by Lava Lamp brand- which comes with glitter and beads, but I found the water vortex alone was mesmerizing to watch. Note the intricately changing structure of the vortex in the slow motion close up.
This lamp is interesting, but the fabrication is low quality. Still, it is fun to see the internal reflections and it would make for a great party light. Definitely read the reviews before purchasing! ($30-$45 USD)
From Amazon: Dodecahedron Infinty Lamp
Dodecahedron Infinity Lamp: lit from within by strips of LEDs the 12 plastic mirrored faces create a universe of interesting internal reflections. While the manufacturing quality of this item is pretty low, when the lights are off it looks pretty amazing.
Similar 3D prints available as fidget toys here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Gear Spinner Fidget Toy
Or print it yourself! (.stl files are available here):
Emmett Lalish Download: Gear Bearing
Refined version featured here by Don Stewart Download: Honeycomb Gear Bearing
3D Print Planetary Gearset: amazingly this gear set is printed assembled, with interlocking herringbone teeth. The gears will not come apart, in fact this design can only be accomplished by 3D printing the gears interlocked with each other. Designed and first printed by Emmett Lalish in 2013, and this version with refined precision and honeycomb by Don Stewart.
Get a nice 3D print made here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Heart Gears
Or print it yourself:
From Thingverse: Download Free: Heart Gears Print Files
Heart Gears: This 3D print is guaranteed to put your heart in a twist- comprised of eight bevel gears attached to an octahedron center block, with the axis of each gear oriented to the center of each face of the octahedron. Rotate any one gear 360 degrees and the heart shape will reform. Another amazing design by Emmett Lalish, first printed in 2014.
The CUMOS Cube is a creation of artist Minori Yamazaki. Available for purchase- inquire via the contact info below:
Learn more here: Cosmos in a Box
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.
Here are some available kinetic illusions that operate on the same principle:
From Amazon: BUY NOW Spiral Spinner Illusion
From eBay: BUY NOW Spiral Spinner Illusion
Dual Spiral Kinetic Art: hanging by fishing line, thick gauge steel wire is shaped into connected helixes- a pair twisting clockwise and a single coiled counterclockwise. When spinning the rotational motion creates translational motion both upwards and downwards along the vertical direction, and also the striking illusion that the quartz sphere is climbing or descending.