Join us for a autumnal exploration of some core Tinkering Studio activities, and play with some of our favorite exhibits. Here are some of the ways in which we’ll be playing this fall:
A Marble Machine is a creative ball-run contraption, made from familiar materials, designed to send a rolling marble through tubes and funnels, across tracks and bumpers, and into a catch at the end. We built a giant “fort” that allows visitors to build collaboratively and on a large scale!
by Charles Sowers
Charles built this exhibit in 1999 after seeing a similar device in a video of a traveling exhibition made by Clifford Wagner. He brought the phenomena out from behind Clifford’s plexiglass by using a low torque, impedence protected motor. A key to the exhibit’s success is the visitor’s willingness to untangle the string when it inevitably gets tangled.
by Nicole Catrett and Ryan Jenkins
One of the studio’s favorite exhibits is the Musical Bench which Nicole and Ryan created. The bench measures the electrical resistance between the copper tubes on the armrests and turns that into musical notes. When people close the electrical circuit by putting their hands on both armrests (say, two people hold hands on the bench, or kissing), it releases beautiful sounds.
by Ned Khan
Three steel balls fall through an array of pins to produce a random melody. The pin array emulates the classic Gaussian distribution demonstration in which numerous balls are fed at the top of a triangular array of pins, then bounce through the pins to become distributed along the bottom with a Gaussian profile. This distribution is not obvious with just three balls, however the pins are set in at different depths which in conjunction with the erratic path of the balls produce a random “Gaussian” melody. The array and sound box are mounted on a pivot so the balls can be rotated back to the top of the array.
by Norman Tuck
The Oscylinderscope is an interactive artwork/exhibit which explores the nature of sound by directly translating the vibration pattern of musical strings into visible waves. Visitors spin a large horizontal cylinder with one hand while strumming the three guitar strings with the other. White lines engraved into the black cylinder scan the vibrating strings so that they appear as wavy lines. This startling phenomenon is at the heart of the Oscylinderscope. The displayed wave form looks and acts like the trace on an electric oscilloscope. Each of the three musical strings displays a different wave pattern according to its frequency. A foot pedal changes the sound heard, as well as the shape of the visible wave.
by Norman Tuck
A snake chasing its tail. In this device, a motor turns a wooden snake tail. When the tail pushes the snake head, it changes the connections and the motor changes direction.