kinetic Art

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.

Mini Double Pendulum

Get this precision machined and balanced desk pendulum here: 
From Etsy: BUY NOW Double Chaotic Pendulum 

Mini Double Pendulum: the intricate dance of chaotic motion from a simple assembly of two physical pendulums (one attached to the end of the other) with the energy of the system moving frenetically back and forth between the potential energy of gravity to the kinetic energy of motion. Chaotic motion (shown here in 240 fps slow motion) is characterized by extreme sensitivity to initial starting conditions, tiny differences in how the system is released leads to dramatically different outcomes each time. This well made precision bearing double pendulum is made by Doug Cvelbar.

Niji Cube

Find this cube and other rainbow making creations by this artist here:

From Etsy: BUY NOW: Niji Cubes

Niji Cube: a stunning kinetic art object constructed from acrylic and thin layers of plastic diffraction grating. Just add a white light source to produce an explosion of vivid colors with these creations by artist Minato Takeo. Here the rainbow spectrum is produced not by refraction like that of a prism, but instead by diffraction, where light waves deconstructively and constuctively interfere. A wonderful object to place on a sunny windowsill or, as in this video, to cast the beam of a flashlight through in a darkened room. 


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.

The iTOP

Well engineered brass spinning toys by SiriusEnigmas:

From Etsy: BUY NOW: The iTOP 

From Etsy: BUY NOW: The PhiTOP

From Etsy: BUY NOW: The eTOP

From Etsy: BUY NOW: The PiTOP

The iTOP: inverting spinning disk- the equilibrium state for a spinning thing is often different from that of the same object when stationary. When spun, the iTOP almost instantly inverts to raise its center of mass (shown in slow motion because it happens so fast). However, when the rotation speed decreases to a certain rate the system becomes unstable (shown again in slow motion) and flips again before going into a rolling/spinning motion like a coin. This top completes the set of four spin tops by astrophysicist Kenneth Brecher, all made of polished brass and themed on a mathematical constant. Swipe to see a demonstration of each: iTOP (square-root of -1), PhiTOP (golden ratio, φ), eTOP (base of the natural log), and the PiTOP (C/D of a circle, π). 

 

Magnetron Chaotic Rotors

Sometimes available on eBay: 
From eBay: Search NOW Magnetron Chaotic Rotator 

Click this link for another toy featuring the math of chaos theory! 

Chaotic Coupled Rotors: kinetic energy is passed back and forth chaotically due to magnets mounted on the the ends of the spines that repel. This toy was marketed under the name Magnetron and sold in the Natural Wonders shops in the 1990s-sometimes available on eBay.


The PiTOP

Well engineered brass spinning toys by SiriusEnigmas

From Etsy: BUY NOW: The PiTOP

From Etsy: BUY NOW: The PhiTOP 

The PiTOP: this beautiful brass cylinder has a radius of 1 inch, a height of 1/π inches, and displays the first 109 digits of π on its face. Spin this disk (best with sound on) and it will demonstrate some very interesting physics involving energy transfer and conservation of angular momentum. The edges of the cylinder are rounded and engineered to exhibit an optimum motion of a “spolling” coin, a motion that combines spinning and rolling (closeup shown in 240fps). As the disk’s angle of inclination decreases the speed of the rolling increases dramatically until the contact point with the mirror is moving in excess of 200mph. From the mind of physicist Ken Brecher, inventor of the PhiTOP (swipe for video). Note also that with the specified height, that the volume of this cylinder is exactly 1 cubic inch! 

Moiré Kinetic Wheel

Get this device (and other variations) here:

From Amazon: BUY NOW: Moiré Fidget Device

Moiré Kinetic Wheel: sold as a fidget toy this device has two plastic disks and each has a pattern of curved spokes that can rotate independently and produce interesting illusions of motion via moiré interference effects. Explore constructive and deconstructive interference patterns with this minimalist toy.

Rainbow Twirler

Get one here: 

From Amazon: BUY NOW: Rainbow Twirler

Rainbow Twirler: shaped by angular momentum and centripetal acceleration- when the speed of the ribbon is faster than the flicker fusion frequency of human vision it looks like a bubble. As the rotation speed increases the shape flattens- similar to the way the Earth bulges due to its rotation. Found this fun motorized base for this item in a toy store last week.


Unmixing Density Column

The bottle used here is from Voss Water: a nice cylinder and the labels come off easily. Amazon has the ingedients:

From Amazon: BUY NOW 
acetoneblue glitterfood coloring, Voss Water

The density column I made for this video is based on blend of two ideas: this "science snack" from the exploratorium: Klutz-Proof Density Column and this ChemED X post: Blog of Prof. Tom Kuntzleman  

See my Salt Fractionation post for details. 

Unmixing Density Column: three liquids that won’t stay mixed! Acetone (dyed blue) floats on top of the higher density vegetable oil, which in turn floats atop salt water (dyed orange) which is more dense than oil. Acetone usually dissolves in water through hydrogen bonding interactions, but solubility can be altered. In a process called “salting out” a sufficient amount of salt is dissolved such that the water molecules, which are much more attracted to the resulting Na+ and Cl- ions (through ion-dipole bonds), will then ignore the weaker acetone hydrogen bonds. This results in the spontaneous separation of these three liquids no matter how well shaken up. 

In Defiance of Gravity

Neodymium magnets will produce the largest gap when suspending a nail or other iron rich objects.
Please use exterme caution when handling these magnets. 

From Amazon: BUY NOW: Neodymium Super Magnet

In Defiance of Gravity: a 3 oz plumb bob in suspension between a chain and a powerful neodymium magnet. Ferromagnetic attraction over a distance of many millimeters, and a reminder of the presence of the typically invisible electromagnetic forces all around us. Sculpture: oak, stainless steel chain and hardware, neodymium super magnet, standard plumb bob tool. Iron filings in oil align and chain together to reveal the magnetic field lines of the equilibrium configuration.

The Orb Drop IV

A new KickStarter campaign from engineer and maker extraordinaire Rian Suiter. Rian has delivered on each all 11 (eleven!) of his creative physics toy related KickStarter campaigns to date. Check out his latest here: 
From KickStarter: Order NOW Orb Drop IV marble run track 

The Orb Drop IV: @orbdrop has created another fun DIY marble run- this one uses an Archimedean screw mechanism to bring the marbles continuously back to the top where they are launched along one of three paths- including a vortex funnel. Gravitational potential energy is transformed to the kinetic energy of the orbs as they loop and negotiate the banked turns of the snaking tracks. Three AA batteries and a small motor power the transport assembly. 


Pendulum Clock

Affordable gravity powered pendulum clocks available here in a number of styles:

From Amazon: BUY NOW: Pendulum Clock

The version featured in the video is the: Hermle Ravensburg Clock

Gravity Powered Pendulum Clock: invented in 1656 by Christian Huygens, the physics properties of a swinging pendulum was the basis of all precision clocks until the 1940s. As noted by Galileo, the period of swing of a pendulum can be made very precise and stable depending only on its length. This modern version is made faithfully in the original design powered only by gravity as the potential energy of the descending weight is transferred to the kinetic energy of the drive train gears and pendulum. The key feature of any pendulum clock is the anchor escapement mechanism- a curved piece attached to the pendulum with two prongs that only allows the escapement wheel to move forward one tooth per swing cycle, and producing the characteristic “tick-tock” sound. The weight descends about 1 cm per hour, and when hanging from a wall the chain needs to be pulled once a week, raising the weight up about 2 m to keep the clock in operation. This beautiful clock, made by Hermle, features a chime that sounds upon the hour. 

Surfs Up Wave Machine

This Simpson's themed wave machine was made back in 1999-2000 and is hard to find. Here is a fairly inexpensive wave machine that has a similar base mechanism: 
From eBay: BUY NOW Liquid Wave Machine

Surf's Up Wave Machine: Bart rides a surfboard between two immiscible liquids which are sorted under gravity by density with the densest (dyed water) on the bottom and the lightest (mineral oil) on top. Bart’s board has a density between that of the two liquids so it stays at the boundary layer, and a capsule of air above Bart’s head keeps him upright. The motorized rocking mechanism in the base is powered by one C cell battery and produces the waves at the boundary layer by sloshing and colliding the dense liquid off each end. Found this rare 1999 toy on eBay.  


Polage

Click on any image to see a short video of more polage in action: 
From Austine Studios: Polarized Light Art 

Sometimes Austine's work can be found on eBay: 
From eBay: SEARCH Polage by Austine 

Click this link 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: art with polarized light using polarizing sheets and cellulose to create changing forms and colors. Rotation of the filter allows the artist to incorporate more than one image and produce colorful metamorphosis. This piece was created by Austine Wood Comarow- the main developer of this art form- and this piece is signed "Young Rose 1987 28/50". Light 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. 

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 eBay: 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.