Engineering

Magnetic Gear Wall

Mechanisms are fascinating, and extremely important to our world, from power stations to electric toothbrushes. You may want to build a complicated machine or just make some gears turn, or anything in between. Allowing you to learn about mechanisms as you play.

It is based aroung magnetic hubs which hold gears and pulleys in between them.

Disappearing image - LCD monitor

This basically consists of a monitor and piece of polariser. However the monitor has had the outer piece of polariser scraped off. This means that all the light that gets through the rear polariser can always get through. But if you look through a polariser you can see the picture again. Rotating the polariser by 90 degrees will of course let through all the light which was previously blocked, so inverting the image.

This shows how a piece of physics can be used in something we use every day.

Modular Ball Run

The ball run consists of a steel sheet, that you can use magnets to attach various tubes gullies and other devices for the ball to run down

To get the ball back up to the top there are a series of blowers set back into the wall (so you can bridge over them with the tubes and build even more complex ball runs).

Ball run

Our version uses ping pong balls that can be blown up tubes, and then controlled on their way down by channels, that stick to a steel wall.

It has been incredibly successful, and will fascinate 2 year olds, phd engineers, and everyone in between. Fans in the tubes blow the balls back up to the top which gives an immediate task - to make the balls keep circulating. Doing this once is quite easy, doing it reliably is much more difficult, and involves using trial, improvement, and empirical learning, all vital for real engineering.