These embedded juggling balls are actually an educational platform that teaches physics.
Though the earliest records of juggling are believed to date back to the ancient eras, and span across a number of cultures, it wasn’t until 1768 when Philip Astley introduced the first circuses with jugglers and took the form of entertainment mainstream. Over the years, a variety of styles, patterns and props would go on to emerge; however, as great as many of these may have been, none may be as interactive as a recent 2015 Hackaday Prize submission from Arkadi Rafalovich.
That’s because the Maker is looking to take the act of juggling to new heights by devising an educational platform that teaches physics in a more engaging and interesting manner. This is accomplished through the use of Smart Juggling Balls, each based on a versatile Arduino Pro Mini (ATmega328) and equipped with 8 RGB LEDs, an accelerometer, a gyroscope, a 2.4Ghz transmitter and a reed switch.
While his juggling skills are quite impressive, the real magic happens inside the open source balls. Each unit can be programmed to change colors based on acceleration, gravity, centripetal force, rotation, and can even be controlled remotely.
“As a first stage towards educational platform, I am planning to improve the PCB design so it will be more user friendly and use it as a platform to teach soldering,” Rafalovich writes. “Later, the kit can be used to teach coding and communication.”
Intrigued? Check out the Maker’s entire project here, or see it in action below.