The Edison’s Cradle?

Many of us have seen or even own what is called the Newton’s Cradle. Known also as the “Executive Ball Clicker”, and named after Sir Isaac Newton, the device was originally built by actor Simon Prebble to demonstrate the conservation of momentum and energy via a series of swinging spheres. When one on the end is lifted and released, the resulting force travels through the line and pushes the last one upward.

Newton's Cradle


In creating his senior thesis exhibition, japanese art student Yasutoki Kariya got inspired by this mechanism, and realized “Asobi“. Meaning “play”, the installation is made by 11 computer-programmed incandescent light bulbs hung from wires.

However, the bulbs would immediately crash when trying to replicate the movement of the Newton’s spheres, that’s why this concept is actually a play on the Newton’s Cradle and doesn’t not actually function like one: the bulbs on both ends don’t actually hit the middle bulbs to transfer energy like the Newton’s Cradle does. In fact, the moving bulbs don’t touch at all, but they are hitting two black box with a button that engages a micro-controller (most likely an arduino) which eventually triggers the light show.

The Asobi project is participating at the 2012 Mitsubishi Junior Designer Award. Other nominees can be found here.

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