The Way Toys Work: The Science Behind the Magic 8 Ball, Etch A Sketch, Boomerang, and More

The Way Toys Work: The Science Behind the Magic 8 Ball, Etch A Sketch, Boomerang, and More

Ed Sobey

Language: English

Pages: 178

ISBN: 1556527454

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

The Way Toys Work: The Science Behind the Magic 8 Ball, Etch A Sketch, Boomerang, and More

Ed Sobey

Language: English

Pages: 178

ISBN: 1556527454

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


A Selection of the Scientific American Book Club

Profiling 50 of the world’s most popular playthings—including their history, trivia, and the technology involved—this guide uncovers the hidden science of toys. Discover how an Etch A Sketch writes on its gray screen, why a boomerang returns after it is thrown, and how an RC car responds to a remote control device. Leaving no detail unrevealed, the guide includes original patent-application blueprints and photos of the “guts” of several devices. Inventors and museum curators also offer their observations of favorite gizmos while dispelling (or confirming) several toy legends. Complete with explanations of do-it-yourself experiments and tips on reverse engineering old toys to observe their interior mechanics, this entertaining and informative reference even provides pointers on how budding toy makers can build their own toys using only recycled materials and a little ingenuity.

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Page 29 Bubble Gun Á 02 (001-178) body 29 Patent no. 5,498,191 How Bubble Guns Work Several things happen when the trigger is pulled. It lifts the applicator arm mechanically to cover the end of the nozzle with bubble juice, and it energizes the electric motor that both blows air through the nozzle and pumps bubble juice from the reservoir. The fan is a high-speed centrifugal pump; its blades spin air in a circle, forcing air outward into the duct inside the barrel. The pump, operating at a

and the bubble escapes to one side or the other. Now deprived of its bubble of buoyancy, the submarine sinks again. The sub will rise and sink until the powder is exhausted. Inside the Diving Submarine Until you add baking powder to the chamber, there’s nothing inside. Lift off the conning tower and add a pinch of the white powder. Replace the conning tower and you’re ready to dive. The shape of the underside of the sub is interesting. The part under the baking powder chamber is a dome that is

pull up on the corner piece. It takes a lot of force to pop out the corner piece, but be careful: too much force and you could break it beyond repair. Once the first piece is out, you can rotate the remaining planes and pull them out as well. Although the 3x3x3 cube appears to be made of 26 smaller cubes (or 27, if you assume there’s one more in the middle you can’t see), there are only 21 pieces, and none of them are really cubes. There are eight corner pieces—which look like cubes with

converts to kinetic energy (energy of motion). The pump sucks in air through the small hole located at its back (the same hole is used to lubricate the pump). The air you push forward in the pump goes into the rocket by pushing the steel ball up inside the valve. At some level of pressure, you won’t be able to force more air into the rocket. Pull back on the release slide and the rocket launches. On launching, the pressurized air and water inside forces water out the opening. The downward force

material is directly related to the strain or the force imposed. The farther you want to stretch a rubber band or spring, the more force you have to exert. The farther you stretch it, the greater the force available when you release it. In the dog pictured on the previous page, the gears connect to two cams, each of which moves a flat plastic piece that conveys the motion to the legs. In the submarine, you wind up the internal spring by twisting the side-wheel paddles. Inside the Windup Toy Our

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