Light Bulbs Are The Best And Worst Balls For A Newton's Cradle

Newton's Cradle is well-known for its repeating clicks, and gracing the desks of executives everywhere. This fragile, but awesome installation by Yasutoki Kariya changes things up a bit by using light bulbs instead of metal spheres. Surprisingly, they manage not to shatter.

If you're choosing things to bang together, light bulbs should rank pretty low on the list, but shatter-potential aside, watching the light course back and forth through this Newton's Cradle is absolutely mesmerizing.

Named "Asobi", the installation is a nominee for the 2012 Mitsubishi Junior Designer Award and beautifully visualizes Newton's third law with a little help from Edison. As Redditors suggested, perhaps "Edison's Cradle" might be a more apt name for the piece, but it's gorgeous nonetheless. So long as it stays in one piece, anyway. [My Modern Metropolis]


    It doesn't look like the bulbs bang together at all. They hit a switch which gets the "chain reaction" light going, until the switch at the other end flicks out and pushes that bulb to swing out from the plastic or metal housing, not the glass.

      My thoughts too. With the amount of wobbling that goes on after each hit (lots of energy loss), compared to the amount that the light on the end of the line flicks out (the same amount as the other one), makes it obvious it's not actually a newton cradle at all... Which is fitting I suppose given the mention of Edison and his dodgy relationship to the light bulb.

      That said, the flowing current/light thing is a nice little effect and visualizes the cradle idea in another way, so even though the inertia/momentum thing is definitely NOT demonstrated physically here, it's represented very nicely aesthetically.

    Edison's cradle? Only if its DC.

    It's fake. There should be no delay between the bulb banging in and out. It uses a solenoid or something at either end to push them out at the right time, and this explains why they don't break

    Edison didn't invent the lightbulb, only improved it and marketed it.
    It's like saying Steve Jobs invented the tablet PC.

      Though come back in 30 years and it's likely how he'll be remembered. To the victor go the spoils. I don't agree with it but it is how history is written.

      Agreed, but who said anything in the article about Edison *inventing* the light bulb?

Join the discussion!