Month: January 2010

Dancing automaton powered by falling sand

Although the “look” of this dancing-girl automaton by English toymaker Ron Fuller is not personally to my taste, I could not resist the fact that it is powered by a stream of falling sand, which is a trick I’ve never seen before. Thanks to YouTuber greninmotion for the video. [via The Automata / Automaton Blog]

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How-To: Make a giant octopus

YouTuber bluworm took on the task of making a great big octopus puppet for stop-motion animation in a film by his friend Daniel Lennéer. Along the way he produced this informative and entertaining video describing the casting, sculpting, and armature-work that went into it, as well as showing off some of the finished animation (starting around 5:00). Besides the cool propcasting info, I gotta give it up to bluworm for his video editing chops–this is definitely one of the most watchable how-to videos I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen a bunch of them. [via Propnomicon]

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How-To:  Make a three-pendulum rotary harmonograph

How-To: Make a three-pendulum rotary harmonograph

MacArthur fellow and MIT Media Lab alumnus Karl Sims brings us this great tutorial on how to build your own complex harmonograph (Wikipedia) for making cool…um…”geometric figures?” I’m looking for a 50-cent mathematician’s word (which may or may not exist) for these periodic spirally figures. Can anybody help me out? [Thanks, David!]

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Math Monday: Morton Bradley sculpture

Math Monday: Morton Bradley sculpture

Morton Bradley sculpture By George Hart for the Museum of Mathematics It’s amazing what can be made from paper. These two mathematical sculptures by Morton C. Bradley are 16″ and 20″ in diameter, respectively, made from 2-ply Strathmore paper. The geometric forms are each based on twelve copies of a Kepler-Poinsot polyhedron, with twelve great […]

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Briggs-Rauscher oscillating chemical reaction

There are, however, other oscillating chemical reactions. None of them result in mechanical action, but the cyclical color changes of, for instance, the Briggs-Rauscher reaction (shown above) are pretty cool in and of themselves. The prototype chemical oscillator is the Belousov-Zhabotinsky reaction (Wikipedia) which was only discovered in the 1950s. For years, no respectable journal would print reports of oscillating chemical reactions because many editors could not reconcile their understandings of thermodynamics with the notion of an oscillating reaction. Guess who had to eat crow?

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16-year-old’s cave radio wins the 2009 International Science Fair

Alexander Kendrick’s project consists of a low-frequency radio allowing a person to send text messages from almost 1,000 feet underground. Read his fascinating story on NPR.com. [via Slashdot]

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Festo iFab in action

I know it’s just a video of a 3D printer laying down plastic, but Festo sure does a great job of showing how sexy the hardware is! I love the spool holding the plastic, and the threaded rods spinning as the extruder rises and drops. [via the Technocratic Anarchist]

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