kinetic Art

Sand Snowman Paperweight Toy

Similar sand toys available here:

From Amazon: BUY NOW: Sand Paperweight Toys

Sand Holiday Paperweight Toy: physics of granular materials- matter with unique properties between those of solids and liquids- as demonstrated with this simple toy. Granular materials, such as the sand in this toy, flow but also stack with a characteristic “angle of repose” as can be seen here as pyramid like ridges that form over the images of Santa and winter wonder.

 

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. 

Double Pendulum with Glow Tracer Screen

Get a similar super nice, affordable, and fun to assemble kit here:
From KiwiCo: BUY NOW: Glow Pendulum Kit

Get amazing quatilty science kits delievered to your home- this glow pendulum is part of the Tinker Crate subscription. 
From KiwiCo: LEARN MORETinker Crate Subscription

 

Double Pendulum with Glow Tracer Screen: A UV diode traces the intricate path of the pendulum on to a phosphorescent screen, revealing its chaotic motion. It’s amazing that such complex motion can arise from a simple assembly of two pendulums, one attached to the end of the other. Chaotic motion, such as that observed here, is characterized by extreme sensitivity to initial starting conditions, tiny differences in how the system is released leads to dramatically different outcomes each time. 


Sp!n Top

Get a Sp!n Top here:

From Art of Play: BUY NOW:  Sp!n Top

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!

Mendocino Motor

Get one here: 

From engineDIY: BUY NOW Solar Levitating Motor (on all models here-remove brown protective film to reveal clear acrylic on rotor)

Mendocino Motor: each face of solar cell is connected to a coil of copper wire under the opposing solar cell. When the rotor is lit from above the top solar cell provides electric current to the coil in the bottom position which becomes a temporary electromagnet that pushes against the permanent magnet in the base propelling the rotor to rotate. As the rotor turns, the coil that moves into the bottom position is likewise energized by the solar cell currently at the top- one can say the light commutates this motor. 2D magnetic levitation is provided by permanent magnets where an acrylic plate constrains the third dimension, and makes for a nice bearing surface for minimal friction. Invented in the 1960s by Daryl Chapin of Bell Labs and popularized by Larry Springs of Mendocino CA 

Kinetic Sandscapes by KB

Sandscape art from Klaus Bösch available here:

From Amazon: BUY NOW: Sandscapes by KB

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. 


Four Mirror Kaleidoscope

Inexpensive 3-mirror kaleidoscopes are available here:

From increadiblescience: BUY NOW: Moire Tube Kaleidoscope

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

See more amazing kaleidoscope designs from my collection: Kaleidoscopes

Four Mirror Kaleidoscope: a precise square arrangement of mirrors produces a four fold symmetry that “wallpapers” the view field in this unique handcrafted kaleidoscope design by Peter Roberts. Swipe to compare to a more traditional three mirror design. Invented by the famous Scottish physicist Sir David Brewster (1781-1868), the kaleidoscope is an ultimate physics toy and entire field of artistic endeavor. 

 

Crushmetric Pen

Available here:

From Crushmetric: BUY NOW: Crushmetric Pen

Crushmetric Switch Pen: 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. New wonderful and affordable physics art that is also a practical ballpoint pen.

Anamorphic Locomotion Cup & Saucer

Animated Horse set available here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Luycho Locomotion Horse Cup & Saucer 

CAUTION: There are poorly made counterfeit versions on Amazon as well. Only these origial Luycho products produce a clean animation and image.  

Locomotion Anamorphic Cup & Saucer: an amazing combination of barrier grid animation and anamorphic projection rendered on elegant porcelain. The warped image on the saucer is reconstructed by reflection off the surface of the cup, however the gold mirroring is comprised of parallel lines that only reflect part of the image pattern. Turing the cup (or the saucer and cup together) reveals a flying bird or running horse! Another expertly crafted product from Luycho. 


Top Secret

This physics toy top is available here: 

From Amazon: BUY NOW Mystery Spinning Top

From eBay: BUY NOW Mystery Spinning Top 


The amazing green magnetic viewing film is also available: 
From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW Magnetic Field Viewing Film 

Here is the 1974 patent showing the very simple circuit of this device. The spinning dipole (the top itself) induces a current in one of the coils, and this current is fed to the base of the transistor turning the electromagnet on when the top is near. 
 

"Top Secret": this top will stay spinning for more than a week- because it is actually a motor! The top is a dipole magnet (as revealed by Magneview film) and the base has an electromagnet that gives the dipole a push when the top comes near the center. An ingeniously simple circuit consisting of only a battery, a coil, and a transistor, is activated when the spinning magnet nears the coil turning on the electromagnet to give a boost to the spin of the magnetic top.

Magnetic Tensegrity Table

Available here:

From sphidget.com: 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 sphidget.com. 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. 


Tapered 4-Mirror Kaleidoscope

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 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.

Wilberforce Pendulum

Classroom demonstration models are available here 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Wilberforce Pendulum Apparatus 

Wikipedia has a good introduction to the physics: Wilberfocre Pendulum 

Wilberforce Pendulum: the mass and spring properties of this device are tuned such that the kinetic energy transfers back and forth between bouncing and twisting in this special coupled harmonic oscillator system invented by physicist Lionel Wilberforce in 1896. If any system is free to oscillate in two or more ways, the energy can transfer between the different modes- note that the bouncing completely stops for a bit, and then the twisting briefly stops- and back and forth with a period of energy transfer at about 15 seconds between the bounce mode and the twist mode. Here the mass and rotational inertia (altered by moving the four small masses in and out) are adjusted so that the resonance frequency of twisting is equal to the resonance frequency of bouncing. This system will complete up to 5 cycles (from rotation only to bounce only and back) before the energy is dissipated.

Polage Miniatures

Austine has an on-line gallery of her amazing work.
From Austine Studios: BUY NOW: Polarized Light Art 

click here for more physics fun with polarization. 

Here is a very nice discussion about polarization that pertains to Polage: Experiments With Polarized Light by Donald E. Simanek 

Polage Miniatures: art with polarized light using polarizing sheets and birefringent cellophane to create changing forms and colors. Rotation of the polarizing filter allows the artist to produce colorful metamorphosis. These affordable sun catchers were created by Austine Wood Comarow (the main developer of this art form), and look amazing through polarized sunglasses as well. Light as a transverse wave has an orientation, denoted as polarization, and a polarizing filter can be used to block certain orientations. The colors in polage come from how the molecular structure of plastics can rotate the polarization of any light that passes through- but only light corresponding to yellows and greens gets rotated in plastic, reds and blues not so much. Polage uses different layers of plastic to rotate the light, and then polarizing filters are added to allow only certain frequencies (colors) of light through.


Vortices in a Kalliroscope

Vintage (1970s) Kalliroscopes are sometimes available here: 
From eBay: Search NOW Kalliroscopes 

Click this linkfor the best Kalliroscope currently in production and available.

Vortices in a Kalliroscope: rheoscopic fluid reveals the intricate and beautiful turbulence induced in an enclosed fluid by rotation of the container. The initial acceleration of the fluid during initial spin-up is shown here in 240fps slow motion. Invented and produced by artist and inventor 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. 

The Alchemist

Bismuth levitation available here: 
From Etsy- Element 83: BUY NOW Magnetic Levitation Sculptures 
featuring amazing Bismuth Crystals, Jewelry, and Maglev Kinetic Art

Circa 1981, Physicists transmute Bismuth to Gold: Particle accelerators make possible the ancient alchemist’s dream—but at a steep cost 

The Alchemist: cast from diamagnetic Bismuth, a neodymium cube magnet levitates trapped between the hands of the ancient scholar. Diamagnetic substances only have magnetic fields of their own when placed in an external magnetic field from another source- here the cube shaped magnet supplies the field. Diamagnetic fields are pretty weak though so a cylindrical neodymium magnet hangs above the figure and is adjusted to help lift the cube magnet against gravity. Trapped in equilibrium by these magnetic fields, the slightest air currents can send the cube magnet dancing. Although alchemists never succeeded in transmuting lead to gold, in 1981 physicists used the particle accelerator at Berkeley to shoot Carbon nuclei at thin foils of Bismuth- the resulting collisions did produced a tiny amount of Gold atoms! So modern nuclear physics, applied to the element Bismuth, finally accomplished the aspirations of the alchemists. ?Another amazing creation by Ernie McElhannon.