Watch 1,000 balls blast through a pneumatic accelerator
Wired has posted this awesome video of a vaccuum-powered maze out of Germany.
Niklas Roy has always been fascinated with machines. As a child, the German artist would build alarm systems for his bedroom door—a precautionary measure to keep his brother out of his room. It was relatively simple work, but there was something fascinating about the act putting components together to create a sum more powerful than its parts. “Of course I was dreaming of building a robot, but I just wasn’t able to do it,” he says.
Today, Roy’s machines are a little more complex, and a lot closer to that dream of building a robot. His most recent, Pneumatic Sponge Ball Accelerator, is a maze clear tubes that suck 1,000 black sponge balls through it at dizzying speed using the same power as a household vacuum cleaner.
Roy has been making pneumatic tube installations for a few years now, but this installation (at the Tschumi Pavilion in Groningen, Netherlands) is his most ambitious yet. Inspired by hulking machines like CERN’s Large Hadron Collider, Roy’s contraption is a playful attempt to provide an artistic visualization to what happens in actual particle accelerators…
…The 1,000 sponge balls travel from bubble A to bubble B through 500 feet of transparent tubing, caused by a change in air pressure. So when the vacuum is sucking air out of bubble B, it causes that air pressure to drop, only to kick back up from incoming air from bubble A. This creates an airflow, pushing the balls through the tubes like a high speed bank deposit capsule. People visiting the installation control the flow of the balls by a touch sensor; they can switch the airflow’s direction in mid bubble commute, slowing down the balls to nearly a stand still before they race off in the other direction. It’s hypnotic to watch, probably even cooler to play with.
Adafruit publishes a wide range of writing and video content, including interviews and reporting on the maker market and the wider technology world. Our standards page is intended as a guide to best practices that Adafruit uses, as well as an outline of the ethical standards Adafruit aspires to. While Adafruit is not an independent journalistic institution, Adafruit strives to be a fair, informative, and positive voice within the community – check it out here: adafruit.com/editorialstandards
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.