kinetic

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Art

New Gear-Operated Koi Fish and Shark LEGO Sets Aim to Decrease Stress in Adults

November 29, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

LEGO has been known for their small stackable bricks for over eighty years, as each new generation uses the brightly-colored blocks to build forts, towers, and other imaginative structures big and small. Although adults have also been interested in new sets throughout the years, LEGO is often associated with children’s play. The toy company aims to change this perception with a new line of interactive objects aimed at adults. LEGO FORMA doesn’t contain any bricks, but rather gears, rods, and customizable skins which assemble to create your own moveable koi fish or shark.

By cranking the completed work, the fish has a lifelike movement— swimming through the air as it turns side-to-side on its stand. The completely new format is designed to be a relaxing, creative challenge that satisfy the human desire to build something with our hands. Each piece takes a few hours to assemble in full. LEGO just wrapped up a campaign to judge feedback on the new line on Indiegogo. You can read more about the LEGO FORMA pilot program on their website. (via My Modern Met)

 

 

 



Design

Solstice: A Wooden Kinetic Clock Expands and Contracts with the Passing Hours

November 13, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Solstice is a shape-shifting wooden clock designed by Matt Gilbert of the London-based studio Animaro. The new interior design object presents different configurations throughout the day, expanding to its widest form at noon when the sun is at its highest point, and contracting at 6 PM when the sun is near its lowest. This meditative movement was inspired by nature, specifically how a flower expands its petals to absorb more sunlight. The clock also is a return to our time-based roots, as its design has users rely on its shape and pattern much like we would a sundial.

The clock has two settings, one that completes a rotation every 60 seconds, and one that completes a rotation during a 12-hours cycle. To switch between the two modes, the user taps on a sensor located on the bottom of the clock. The Solstice clock is currently available for pre-order on Kickstarter. The crowdfunding campaign runs through December 13, 2018. You can see more of Animaro’s previous designs on their website and Instagram. (via Colossal Submissions)

 

 



Art

A Kinetic Sculpture Twists and Morphs Based on the Fibonacci Sequence

July 3, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Wales-based sculptor Ivan Black creates large-scale kinetic sculptures that are inspired by mathematical formulae and minimal design. One of his latest pieces, Square Wave, is smaller than his typical works and was designed in response to the Fibonacci sequence. The mobile-like object is made up of several metal bands which curve and flatten as the work twists, creating a mesmerizing movement that is at once fluid and strictly geometric.

The sculpture is included in the group exhibition In the Manner of Smoke at Alice Black Gallery in London through July 7, 2018. You can view more of Black’s interactive designs based on mathematical structures on his website and Instagram. (via Design Milk)

“Square Wave,” images via Kinetica Museum

Installation view of Square Wave in the exhibition "In the Manner of Smoke" at Alice Black Gallery

Installation view of Square Wave in the exhibition “In the Manner of Smoke” at Alice Black Gallery

 

 



Art

Plants Respond to Faraway Wind Currents in a Mesmerizing Dance Engineered by David Bowen

June 15, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Guided by the movement of a flower stalk on a breezy day, a field of indoor plants seem to move in a choreographed dance. To create this mesmerizing movement, artist David Bowen installed indoors 126 plant stalks attached to x/y tilting mechanical devices. The indoor devices then jerk and tilt in near perfect synchronicity with an identical plant affixed to an accelerometer, which moves freely outside.

In its most recent iteration, tele-present wind has been installed indoors at Azkuna Zentroa in Bilbao, Spain, and outside at the University of Minnesota’s Visualization and Digital Imaging Lab. As a result, the plants in Spain were responsive to subtle wind current happening over four thousand miles away. The project is on view in Spain until September, 2018. Bowen works with movement and technology in many of his works, including SPACEJUNK, in which fifty twigs point in unison to the direction of the oldest piece of man-made space debris. You can see more from the artist on Instagram and Vimeo. (via Prosthetic Knowledge)

 

 

 



Amazing Animation Music

A Kinetic Block & Marble Track Perfectly Synchronized with Tchaikovsky’s “Waltz of the Flowers”

January 10, 2018

Christopher Jobson

Kinetic artist Mark Robbins of DoodleChaos made waves across the internet a few months ago when he perfectly synced a custom course from the Line Rider game to Edvard Grieg’s Hall of the Mountain King. As astounding as it was to watch the digital game and audio sync up, Robbins took things a step further by making a series of IRL Rube Goldberg-like contraptions with marbles, blocks, and magnets that plays perfectly with Tchaikovsky’s Waltz of the Flowers. The feat required listening to the waltz hundreds of times which he says resulted in him “going a bit crazy.” If you liked this, also check out YouTube user Kaplamino.

 

 



Design

Floating Cloud: An Electromagnetic Cloud That Hovers on Your Desktop by Richard Clarkson

August 7, 2017

Christopher Jobson

Floating Cloud is the latest “weightless” creation from NYC-based artist and designer Richard Clarkson who has long been fascinated by the shape and form of clouds that he translates into audiovisual devices. The Floating Cloud is held in place by a system of rare earth magnets, electromagnets, and a location sensor that keep the cloud hovering at all times while allowing for full rotation and slight upward and downward motion when touched. It’s also embedded with a number of sound reactive LEDs that flash in response to music or ambient sounds. Learn more here.

 

 



Design Music

Rock Band: An Electromechanical Sound Machine That Makes Music With Rocks

March 15, 2017

Christopher Jobson

A rolling stone gathers no moss as they say, but this collection of stones manipulated by electromechanical devices are capable of performing George Harrison’s “Here Comes the Sun” thanks to artist Neil Mendoza. Titled Rock Band, this kinetic sound art installation is actually four different instruments including a xylophone, a buzzing base, two spinners, and a pair of slappers. Mendoza describes how each device works:

Xylophone: Inside each of the tubes is a small pebble. When the Teensy receives a note for this instrument, it triggers a solenoid (electromagnet), to launch the pebble up a tube and strike a key. For the design of this piece, I wrote a piece of software that calculated the size each key needed to be to produce the appropriate frequency and then cut them out using a water jet cutter.

Bass: This is the small marble circle in the front. When the Teensy receives a note for this one, it causes the plunger of a solenoid (electromagnet) to vibrate at the frequency of the appropriate musical note against the rock.

Spinners: These are the two large objects on either side and are percussive. Inside each of these, there are two magnets attached to each end of a shaft. On the outside, there are two magnetic rocks, Hematite, that are attracted to the magnets on the inside. When a note is received, the shaft spins and one of the rocks is guided away from its magnet and launched through the air. It lands on a piece of marble that has been cut to size to fit in the machine.

Slapper: These slap the rocks with pieces of fake leather and provide some light percussion.

All of the machines were built at Autodesk’s Pier 9 workshop in San Francisco as part of their artist in residence program. You can see more of Mendoza’s mechanical works on his website.