Math Toys

Mirror Anamorphic Lenticular Cup & Saucer

Direct message Luycho on Instagram about this design. Other designs can be seen here: 
From Luycho: 
Luycho | A New world on Mirrors 

Click here for more Mirror Anamorphic 

Mirror Anamorphic Lenticular Cup & Saucer: a toucan sits in a nest of flowers, revealed only when the cylindrical mirrored cup is put in place. This beautiful design by Luycho uses both mirror anamorphic reflection and an accordion type lenticular dual image. Art meets math and physics! @luycho for details.


3D Pentominoes

The set I used for this video is called Pocket Katamino and is available here
From Amazon: BUY NOW Pentominoes 

3D Pentominoes: the 12 possible arrangements of five identical squares, joined edge to edge, form the set of all pentominoes. Since 12x5=60, the pentominoes can tile a 6 x 10 rectangle with no gaps (2339 ways to do this- yet even finding one solution is a challenge). This set of colorful pentominoes is made so that the height of each piece is the same as the width of the constituent squares, such that 3D constructions can be made. Since 3x4x5=60 one can build a box with these dimensions (amazingly, 3940 ways to do this- but again, finding one is still a fun challenge). 

Trammel of Archimedes

Get similar devices here: 

From Etsy: BUY NOW 
Trammel of Archimedes

From eBay: BUY NOW 
Trammel of Archimedes

Trammel of Archimedes: as the shuttles take turns completing their straight line journeys, the end of the crank arm traces an ellipse. 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. This version was crafted from fine maple, cherry, and oak by artisan Neal Olsen. 


Latest orbiforms available here: 
From Kickstarter: Order NOW 
Orbiforms in Steel, Brass, or Copper

Orbiforms: volumes of constant width made from solid steel, brass, and copper- these shapes have constant diameter no matter their orientation and will roll like spheres between two planes- note how the acrylic plate stays parallel to the table as the orbiforms roll underneath. The first set shown are based on the Reuleaux triangle and the second set are based on a Reuleaux pentagon. Currently available on Kickstarter from my friends at @altdynamic 

Pocket Scintillator Kinetic Art

Logan sometimes has items for sale here:

From Etsy: BUY NOW: PocketScintillators

Pocket Scintillator Card: three sheets of seemingly random arrays of translucent colored pixels produce words and images when stacked- shift the stack of sheets and a second images appears! Innovative kinetic optical art by inventor, artist, software developer Logan Kerby @thanksplease who kindly sent me these cards encoded with @physicsfun themes.

Novascope Kaleidoscope

The Novascope can be ordered from the artist here: 
From Order here Novascope by David Sugich 

Novascopes can sometimes be found on eBay 
From eBay: Search NOW Novascope Kaleidoscopes 

Novascope: tapered mirror kaleidoscope by David Sugich uses three mirrors to create an image of geodesic spheres. Three mirrors in an equilateral triangle configuration will produce a plane of tiled triangles, but if they are tapered the repeated reflections curve to infinity creating the spherical geometry. In this design there are thin gaps etched into one mirror which allows in colored light from a flashlight (on the white side of the pyramid shaped scope) to produce the hexagon lattice. Shining a light through the view portal reveals where the colored lines come from as a flashlight moves from top to bottom and back. Invented by the famous Scottish physicist Sir David Brewster (1781-1868), the kaleidoscope is an ultimate physics toy and entire field of artistic endeavor.

Frabjous Geometric Sculpture Puzzle

Get one here- five colors to choose from:

From MoMath: BUY NOW: Frabjous Sculpture Puzzle

Frabjous Geometric Sculpture Puzzle: 30 identical laser cut acrylic pieces interlock into 12 interconnected five point stars (each with a spiral vortex center) in this puzzle based of the Frabjous sculpture by artist and professor of mathematics George Hart (Prof. Hart is now on Instagram, follow him at @george.hart.sculptor to see more of his amazing work.) Note that if one connects the tips of the stars one gets the outline of a dodecahedron, with its 30 edges and 12 sides, and if one considers the face planes of the linked pentagrams the underlying shape is a polyhedron called the “great rhombic triacontahedron”. A year or so ago I got to visit the National Museum of Mathematics in NYC where I bought this puzzle in the @momath1 museum shop. This puzzle was great fun to assemble- buy one to support this inspirational museum, and make a great sculpture for your bookshelf! 

Cone of Apollonius

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From Amazon: BUY NOW: Cone of Apollonius

From Etsy: BUY NOW: Cone of Apollonius

Cone of Apollonius: Slicing a cone with a plane will produce the famous curves known as the conic sections, as demonstrated with this beautiful vintage wood model by Nasco. Slicing at a right angle to the cone’s axis of symmetry produces a circle, and tilting the intersecting plane a bit produces an ellipse. When the plane is tilted parallel to the side of the cone the curve produced is a parabola, and tilting even further creates a hyperbola. The discovery of the mathematics demonstrated here are attributed to Apollonius of Perga from about 250 BC- thousands of years later Kepler, Newton, and others showed these conic sections to be intricately connected to many branches of physics such as planetary orbits and the optics of telescopes.

Shadow Stereographic Projection

These mathematical art objects are created by Henry Segerman and available here: 
From Shapeways: BUY NOW Mathematical Art 

Wikipedia has a nice introduction to the math and applications of stereographic projection

Shadow Stereographic Projection: 3D printed sculptures that cast geometric shadows. When illuminated by a point source of light (placed at the top pole of the sphere) the shadow cast by the rays of light represent a one to one mapping of the points on the sphere to points on the plane- creating a square grid, and a honeycomb of regular hexagons. Stereographic projection is often used in representing the geography of the globe of our planet on to a flat map. Mathematical art by Henry Segerman. 

Equilateral Triangular Kaleidoscope

This inexpansive kaleidoscope is available here:

From increadiblescience: BUY NOW: Moire Tube Kaleidoscope

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

See more kaleidoscopes in my collection: Kaleidoscopes

Equilateral Triangular Kaleidoscope: three mirrors arranged in a 60-60-60 degree triangle creates the appearance of a plane filled with triangles (or equivalently a honeycomb lattice)- perhaps the most common mirror configuration design, this inexpensive kaleidoscope produces an excellent example of the reflection pattern. As a bonus the exterior tube on this scope incorporates a kinetic Moirè pattern. The kaleidoscope was invented by the famous Scottish physicist Sir David Brewster (1781-1868), and has become an entire field of artistic endeavor.

Tapered Mirrors Kaleidoscope

This design by Koji Yamami available here: 
From BUY NOW Space Teleiedoscope 

Click on this link for details on the physics and symmetries of two mirror kaleidoscopes.

Tapered Mirrors Kaleidoscope: the unique design of this teleidoscope uses three mirrors to create an image of a geodesic sphere. As can be seen through the semi-transparent acrylic tube, the three mirrors are tapered, with their smaller ends near the ball shaped lens. Three mirrors in an equilateral triangle configuration will produce a plane of tiled triangles, but if they are tapered the repeated reflections curve to infinity creating the sphere. In this design by Koji Yamami there are small gaps between the mirrors which allows in colored light from the iridescent tube to produce the radiant streaks of light. Invented by the famous Scottish physicist Sir David Brewster (1781-1868), the kaleidoscope is an ultimate physics toy and entire field of artistic endeavor.


Square Kaleidocycle

This book has many versions of kaliedocycles: cut out and glue to make many interesting mathematical objects.

From Amazon: BUY NOW: MC Escher Kaleidocyles

Square Kaleidocycle: a ring of eight linked tetrahedra. The hinged connections allow the ring to be rotated through its center. The faces of the pyramids are decorated with the famous tessellation work of MC Escher, a pattern of interlocking lizards. Note that as the kaleidocycle is rotated the lizards at the center change through each of four colors. Made from card stock, this kaleidocycle was cut and assembled from a book by mathematicians Doris Schattschneider and Wallace Walker. 

Pencil Hyperboloid

Choose your color and get one here: 
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Hyperboloid Pencil Holder 

don't forget a set of pencils: 
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Colored Pencil Sets 

Better yet- get some thermochromic color changing pencils! 
From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW 
Heat-Sensitive Pencils 

Pencil Hyperboloid: a perfect gift for any math teacher- the precisely oriented holes in this base direct 16 pencils to reveal a hyperboloid, the 3D surface traced by revolving a diagonal(skew) line, the outline of which is the conic section of the hyperbola. A doubly ruled surface for any desktop!

In and Out Illusion

Similar objects available here- from Etsy: BUY NOW Ambiguous Objects

In or Out Illusion: this 3D printed sculpture incorporates the now famous Stubborn Arrow Illusion and features both a left and right handed version. These ambiguous object illusions are a fairly recent invention by mathematician Kokichi Sugihara of Meiji University in Japan which take advantage of a clever combination of perspective, and viewing angle.

Aristotle's Wheel Paradox 

Get this demonstration puzzle here:

From Etsy: BUY NOW: Aristotle's Wheel

WIkipedia has some details on the Wheel "Paradox"

Aristotle’s Wheel “Paradox”: How does the smaller attached disk travel the same length as the larger one if both disks only make one full rotation? Note the shorter path of the smaller disk, if rolled on its own. This beautifully made demonstration depicts an issue of geometry and motion that perplexed the best minds of humanity for 2000 years. The ancients knew the formula for circumference, and C=2πR for the large disk is clearly greater than C=2πr for the smaller- so how could the smaller disk, rotated once, still travel the distance of the larger one if attached? The great Galileo even offered a solution to the problem in his book Two New Sciences, where he approximated the situation as concentric hexagons and considered the limit as the number of sides increased. So what is the best answer to make sense of this situation?

Platonic Solids Dice Set

Get this nice set of regular polyhedra dice here:

From Etsy: BUY NOW: Polyhedra Dice Set

Less expensive sets of standard plastic dice here:

From Amazon: BUY NOW: Polyhedra Dice Set

Platonic Solids Dice Set: The five famous convex regular polyhedra in the form of fair dice. This set is cast in metal with clean edges and makes for a great way to own these symmetrical objects that have fascinated thinkers ever since the ancient Greeks wrote about them circa 360 BC. Only these five forms meet these criteria (in 3D space) for each face: must be equal in size, be equal in number of sides, each side of equal length, identical in angle were any two sides meet, and have the same number of sides meet at each vertex point of the solid. 2000 years later the famous mathematician Euler determined that for these 5 shapes V-E+F=2, the number of corners (vertices), minus the number of edges, plus the number of faces, will always equal 2. 

Ambiguous Object Illusion Set

This wonderful and afffordabe set includes four illusion objects and a mirror:

From BUY NOW: Inq's Ambiguous Illusion Kit (sold out)

Similar objects available here- from Etsy: BUY NOW Ambiguous Objects

Ambiguous Object Illusion Set: This kit comes with four objects (three shown here) invented by mathematician Kokichi Sugihara of Meiji University in Japan. Polygons appear as circles in a mirror and vice versa, and the famous “stubborn arrow” that will only point to the right (or, in a mirror, to the left). I like how the base is also an ambiguous pentagon/circle, which like all these objects, is a result of a clever combination of reflection, perspective, and viewing angle. Thanks to the Vsauce team for producing this kit!