Another Ball Sucking Machine Leaves You Wanting More

Pneumatic Sponge Ball Accelerator

[Niklas] told us about his newest art project that he is calling a Pneumatic Sponge Ball Accelerator. This isn’t a home workshop type of project, it is a full fledged art exhibit displayed at the Tschumi Pavilion in Groningen / The Netherlands. One-thousand black sponge balls move from a big glass ball-reservoir bubble to another via a 150 meter long track of clear plastic tubing. The balls move up to an impressive 4 meters a second. Admirers of the installation can operate the machine and its airflow from outside the pavilion by pressing their hand up to a touch sensor installed on the wall of the exhibit.

All of the ball movement is powered by an ordinary home vacuum. Since it would be a short display if all the balls traveled in one direction, ending up in just one of the glass bubbles, [Niklas] came up with a simple yet functional valve that reverses the flow of air in the tube. This is done by a rotatable disk with two holes in it. Depending on its position, it connects one of the two bubble to the vacuum, leaving the other vented to outside atmosphere. Since the vacuum side of the path is low pressure and the ambient atmosphere is relative high pressure, the air travels towards the vacuum bringing the foam balls with it. No balls get sucked into the vacuum because the outlet tube is at the top of each bubble.

Pneumatic Sponge Ball Accelerator

 

Find two videos after the break, they are well worth watching.

Are you wondering what it would be like to travel through this contraption? Wonder no longer as this video provides a first person point of view thanks to a tiny camera stuffed inside a custom foam-covered capsule:

We’ve previously covered a ball sucking machine here on Hackaday that [Niklas] acknowledges was partial inspiration for his project.

Comments

  1. Simon Moore says:

    Was that title entirely necessary? :P

  2. Robin Fearon says:

    That has to be one of the dodgiest blog post titles I have ever read

  3. Simbo says:

    I have to say I was a little disappointed when I saw the picture after reading the title!! ;)

    hehe

  4. Jac Goudsmit says:

    “Admirers of the installation can operate the machine and its airflow from outside the pavilion by pressing their hand up to a touch sensor installed on the wall of the exhibit”.

    What, not control over the Internet?

    Just kidding, nice project!

  5. Slegiar says:

    seriously dat title XD

    but is this really the next big rube goldberg thing? big ball machines powered by suction instead of gravity and they all actively need interaction to be reversed or run again? I still remember as a kid, when we traveled more, seeing various Big Ball Machines around at airports, science museums, etc, and they were far cooler because the of the large amount of paths each one held, you could watch for a long time, following each path, till the ball was taken to the top again.

    I guess the work of James Murray Spangler is for some, more interesting to watch than that of Sir Isaac Newton. *shrugs*

  6. elwing says:

    it makes me think of Aperture’s laboratory…

  7. Ed Mac says:

    I was playing with this last weekend when i was over for the MotoGP, its pretty cool, especially when you build up a good bit of speed in one direction and then reverse the flow.

  8. Koen Blank says:

    Just as I was thinking this is something for the glass boxes in Groningen (in the Netherlands) when the title shows up ;). Maby I will travel to this contraption.

  9. vonskippy says:

    Something was being sucked – probably not just the foam balls. Only in the Netherlands where income tax starts at around 52% and then tacks on several “extras” could you fund something so totally useless (except of course for the States where their version is called the JF-35 which also sucks various things).

    • BNBN says:

      I dont get why people post things that are so easy to disprove:
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Income_tax_in_the_Netherlands

      56000 EUR is about $76000, hardly the start of the tax, or does everyone in the netherlands earn that?

      • vonskippy says:

        Assuming at least some of the people here on HaD aren’t still living in their Mom’s basement, earning above $76K USD or more isn’t odd at all for engineer’s, scientists, or other professionals – hence the 52% income tax that would be charged in the Netherlands (not counting retirement tax or healthcare tax). If you’re not making anywhere near that – time to find a new job (or career).

  10. Als Taxi says:

    Reminds me of a girl I once knew.

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