Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Helicone: Science or Art? Plenty of Both

What is the Helicone? You wouldn't be wrong if you called it an art piece, although a mobile one, one meant to be handled. And you wouldn't be wrong if you called the Helicone a toy, although a science toy, one meant to be pondered, one meant to excite wonder.

Whatever you call it, the Helicone is cool and beautiful. The Helicone, which you can buy on Amazon.com,comes looking like this:

But when you take it out of the box, set it on its base and spin it, the Helicone takes one of two forms:

On the left is a helix, on the right is a cone. The "helicone." Spin it and it transforms from one shape into the other.

The Helicone is made by a company called playableART - which calls it an "interactive kinetic sculpture" - and was designed by John Edmark. How does it work? Here's the best explanation I could find: "Through the use of internal stops, each arm is constrained to rotate a maximum of 68.75° (1/2 the Golden Angle) relative to its neighboring layer." Here's some more company text:

Inspired by nature, based on the Fibonacci Numbers and the Golden Angle, helicone not only represents beautiful botanical structures but also provides stunning transformations before your very eyes. Watch it magically transform between a helix and a pine cone with a simple, quick twist.

To really appreciate the beauty of the Helicone, you have to see it in action:

And here's one more video:

You want one now, don't you? I sure do.

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