Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Bowling balls, metal cables
Kinetic energy can be passed from one object to another. We experience this process during the game of billiards when the cue ball collides with another ball, passing its kinetic force on to it. Collisions in billiards are effectively elastic collisions, where kinetic energy is preserved.
Newton's cradle, named after Sir Isaac Newton, is a device that demonstrates conservation of momentum and energy. The most popular office toy was produced in the early 70th under the name “clackers”. Due to the high cost of steel ball bearings later on used, the Spanish company called Scientific Demonstrations Ltd used high-density plastic balls instead.
In my installation “Trigger” I used seven matching bowling balls suspended from metal wires fixed to the ceiling. The work has been shown on my travel exhibitions “Playontology”2004 in Köln and the “Ball of fame” show in Berlin 2006 and always managed to attract an eager crowd for experiment with it.
It was interesting to find that “The Geek Group in Kalamazoo, Michigan” created a similar work in 2006. It is on public display and is used for science and technology demonstrations. Even though I beat them in time, they managed an array of 20 bowling balls to work. Its worth to check them out under http://www.thegeekgroup.org
Newton’s cradle, the original table version has been the most popular of all office toys. Office toys have been getting popular since the 1990s. Many companies even encourage employees to bring toys to their office for reducing stress. Different types of office toys accompany different functions or purposes. For example, Playing "Puzzles" arouses creativity while playing "Toys that involve physical activity" can let the user's mind rest without falling asleep at work. Users of office toys are usually office workers or adults, but it is not unusual for children to play with, since many toys were designed for kids in the first place. Most office toys are placed on office desktop. The purpose of bringing toys or playthings to the office are providing amusement, boosting creativity and relieving stress.