Mixing physics, engineering, paper and what looks like some seriously rewarding folding, cutting and taping DIY, Andrew Gatt builds incredibly sturdy paper roller coasters out of heavy paper strips. Yes! Only paper and tape was used to make this paper roller coaster… and it almost reaches a two-story high ceiling!
I included just about every feature that I could think of when I designed this roller coaster. It has a switch, three funnels, a half pipe, track hidden inside the structural beams and columns, a jump, many spirals and loops, switchbacks, hill and valley sequences, and stairs. It’s 16’4” (4.97 meters) tall, yet its base is only 13” (33 cm) by 12.5” (31 cm). It’s free standing, so it does not lean against anything for support. It weighs 2 pounds and 10 ounces (1190 grams). Besides the cardboard base, it is made of only stiff paper and tape. Every marble takes between 90 and 115 seconds to reach the end.
Andrew has more videos of his roller coasters (one at the 2012 World Maker Faire where visitors helped built it), as well as templates for sale and a gallery of student-made projects at PaperRollerCoasters.com.
Grab some strips of paper and join math video storyteller and “mathemusician” Vi Hart as she introduces the Hexaflexagon:
This video is based on, and in honor of, Martin Gardner’s first Mathematical Games column from 1956, “Hexaflexagons,” which can be found here: http://maa.org/pubs/focus/Gardner_Hexaflexagons12_1956.pdf
October 21st is Martin Gardner’s birthday, which is why every October the recreational mathematics community celebrates his life and work. This year we’re having hexaflexagon parties. You can join in too: http://www.puzzles.com/hexaflexagon/
You can find more about hexaflexagons all over the internet. flexagons.net has a lot of patterns for different kinds of flexagons, or here’s the wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flexagon
Kokichi Sugihara at Meiji University in Kawasaki, Japan, has been using computer software to bring impossible drawings to life. The video above shows some of the objects he has made moving in ways that appear to defy geometry.
When the models are turned around, however, the trick is revealed: the objects are not what they seem. That’s because we constantly make assumptions about perspective and depth in order to move about in a 3D world, and these models take advantage of those assumptions.
Sugihara used computer software to analyse seemingly impossible drawings and come up with solid shapes that might look like the drawing from one perspective, but not from others.
Also be sure to check out this second 2010 video from Sugihara where he appears to make balls roll *up* ramps.
from New Scientist.