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Rube Goldberg dominoes

Some time ago I was home with only one of my sons, who was setting up dominoes in a row and knocking them down.  That led to a discussion on why the falling dominoes go at a certain speed, and if you could make it faster or slower by changing how they were laid out.  To my recollection we found that it didn’t matter if you had more dominoes close together or fewer spread apart, they all fell at roughly the same speed.

It was still an interesting way to explore the scientific method, since we discussed it beforehand and came up with a hypothesis, then designed an experiment to test it.

I was watching some domino videos on YouTube that made me recall that incident.  Some people out there have lots of patience and very steady hands:

Mike and Steve hand cut and painted over 5000 dominoes because they couldn’t find large quantities of professional quality toppling dominoes (professional quality toppling dominoes?)

FlippyCat  has 106 videos on his YouTube channel, apparently all of falling dominoes.  Just in time for Valentines, he has a 3 dimensional heart shaped topple.  3D is all the rage right now, but who knew toppling dominoes came that way?  He also has a great Happy New Year topple, and a video of large dominoes built up out of 30,000 regular dominoes. Plus 103 other videos that I’m sure are just as entertaining.  Many of his videos end in reverse entropy with the dominoes leaping up from the floor back into place.

The Dutch seem to be champions  of domino toppling.  They have an annual domino day and seem to set a new record every year.  This attempt resulted in 4.3M dominoes falling, and great tricks like domino workers suspended by wires swooping in and placing dominoes in place just in the nick of time.  There’s not a complete video of the attempt on YouTube, because the whole affair took over two hours.

Finally the domino topple from one of my favorite movies:  V for Vendetta.  The trivia notes from IMDB say that this topple involved 22,000 dominoes, 4 professional domino setters (who knew there was such a thing?), and 200 hours.

Steve Ravet

Design News Gadgeteer

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