What do you get when you combine a Stirling engine, invented in 1816, with a spirograph from 1965, along with an Arduino powered by a 12VDC motor acting as a generator? That would be the Spirotrope by Witaya Junma. In this piece, participants are invited to draw a pattern using a Spirograph, then place the results in a specially designed holder that spins it using the motion of a Stirling engine.
The alcohol-powered engine spins the participant’s art, and provides stabilized power to an Arduino via a motor acting as a generator and a set of capacitors. The Arduino then shines a strobe light onto the paper, causing the Spirograph patterns to appear to move at different speeds. The speed of the flashes, combined with the patterns drawn, dictates how fast and in what direction that they appear to move.
This results in an effect where patterns drawn in various colors appear to move independently, with different layers moving at different speeds and directions at the same time.
It’s an amazing effect, and neat to see the fusion of 200 year old technology fused with more modern devices to create something truly unique. Be sure to check it out in the video seen here!
[h/t: Creative Applications]