View Full Version : [Interesting] BMW Kinetic Sculpture

07-08-2008, 10:30 AM
YouTube - Kinetic sculpture at the BMW Museum (full length video)

07-08-2008, 10:37 AM
I really liked the big "whole sheet" moves. That fluidity was amazing - thanks for sharing it!

07-08-2008, 11:21 AM
That was pretty cool. Thanks for sharing.


07-08-2008, 01:11 PM
Very cool. Was it a car at one point?

07-08-2008, 01:29 PM
Yeah, I think it did a few different cars. I'm really curious what the mechanics are behind it. Are they cables on spindles or Stiff thin metal rods? How many motors are running it? It is very well executed and obviously has a lot of custom software behind it.

07-08-2008, 01:40 PM
There were several BMW bodies over time. It was "about" evolution.

Reported here: http://www.neatorama.com/2008/07/08/bmw-kinetic-sculpture/

Steel balls on strings.

Reported here: http://createdigitalmotion.com/2008/07/07/kinetic-inspiration-sculpture-at-bmw-museum-by-artcom/

Created by " wildly-talented design house ART+COM"

Reported here (and they have some much better photos):


"comprising 714 metallic balls suspended in air creating a wave of undulating orbs that appear to weightlessly float"

Reported here: www.engadget.com/2008/07/06/the-bmw-museums-kinetic-sculpture-takes-your-brain-to-another-d/

"Ready to have your gray matter softly stroked? Perhaps you should take a trip to BMW's recently opened museum in Munich, where a kinetic sculpture comprising 714 metallic balls suspended in air will soothe your weary mind. It's one of those things that's better seen than described, but if you can imagine a wave of undulating orbs that appear to weightlessly float, you'll start to get the idea."

Reporting from the BMW Car Club, here's a great photo - at full size you can even see the strongs:


The BMWCCA appears to be the origination point for these photos and video ultimately. They have the least stomped-on examples. Posted last month, June 2008.

Thus concludes this research project. ;)

07-08-2008, 01:48 PM
Great...thanks alot.. another project added to the list :genmad:

eheh, amazing work of art that is.. kind of reminds me of the "hologram" thingamajig they use in "bones", must have cost an arm and a leg to produce though..

And I don't want to know what kind of current that thing pulls..

07-08-2008, 01:56 PM
Yeah, they've basically got to be steppers with that kinda speed.

I'm going to guess about 2KAh @ 9v DC. (3A each peak * 714 of 'em since they appear to be individually controlled) 150A peak @ 120v AC with conversion loss, so 75A peak at 240vAC single phase. So let's guess they run it from a commercial HVAC circuit and figure three phase, split a couple out from a 480v line at figure 40A each circuit @ 240vAC stepped down and inverted...

The heat will getcha, though. Probably as much amperage into cooling it as driving it. :)

Oh - wait. You didn't want to know. Does that include "guessing"? :D

07-08-2008, 02:01 PM
>>Great...thanks alot.. another project added to the list :genmad:

LOL, no problem!

@Adrenalynn - Thanks for the info.

07-08-2008, 02:04 PM
Very nice, thanks for sharing it with us.

07-08-2008, 02:07 PM
@ Adrenalynn :Have you always had a natural tendency to resolve issues with no apparent cause?

If so, I bow to you m'lady, and am overjoyed that I am not the only freak around! :tongue:

It's indeed more the cooling that boggles me, i'm not that in to power electronics, and i keep wondering how they power things like those massive LED screens without burning everyone within 100 feet to a crisp.
H-bridges for motors that draw currents of 100 amps and things like that.. how'd you even build a circuit board that can handle that tsunami of electrons??

07-08-2008, 02:35 PM
Oh, you are certainly not alone on this forum!

I'm infamous for asking the stoopid questions around here that end-up being physics debates... Glad you're here to share the "blame" ;)

Yeah, I love reasoning out stuff like that. At MakerFaire, I'd stand 20ft away from a project with my hands in my back pockets, and the Maker would come up and say "can I answer any questions?" and I'd reply "not yet".

With the Virginia Tech DARPA challenge car, I stared at it for almost two hours before I asked my first question. And I already "knew" the answers, I was just looking for confirmation. :)

The mind of an engineering geek... Like many here, I was tearing stuff apart at an early age, and by this point, I've torn so much apart physically that I don't really need to anymore. I just disassemble it in my head, turn the pieces around a few times, and the design becomes self-evident.

One of the things I loved so much about the Maker Faire was that there were a handful of things I *couldn't* do that to. Being able to interrogate the engineer that envisioned and managed to execute such an "impossible thing" was outstandingly rewarding...

07-08-2008, 02:43 PM
I'm starting to get to the point where i can disassemble things in my head too (that sounds weird..) but i still have papers and notes covering every single piece of furniture i pass by with scribbles and sketches of new ideas.

A few weeks ago I came upon Jaimie's giant robot project (http://jamius.com/Robot/Robot.html) and even took out my box of lego's to figure out if the mechanics of how it worked i envisioned were right, i didn't sleep until i built a little proof-of-concept - at around 5 at night...

The only thing that bugs me about it though, is i can't let go. I can spend hours laying awake thinking about new projects and things, and I need more than 4 hours of sleep a night :rolleyes:

07-08-2008, 02:59 PM
Doesn't sound weird to me at all.

I've always had something of a knack for maintaining a lot of simultaneous discrete bits in my head, I suspect most engineers do. When I was just a wee little one, I really wanted a computer, but we couldn't afford it. So I taught myself 6502 assembler and the 6502 architecture. I would write and run 6502 binary in my head. So eventually I got my Vic20 and was pretty disappointed. It ran about half the speed and with 3/4 of the program memory as what I'd run in my head. It's pretty silly when you find the results before the computer can.

Alas, it doesn't scale. I'm fully convinced that if I tried to do that with modern 686 code with optimizations and math core that they'd find me laying in a puddle and the walls covered in a pink and gray mist. :eek: :robotindifferent:

07-08-2008, 03:16 PM
I started out with a commodore64. Basic just isn't the same as assembly though, only started that about 9 years ago, yet somehow i feel like I'm miles behind on everyone else:o

It's amazing how much stuff there is to learn, and it's even more amazing how much a person can learn on a single day, given the correct stimuli

07-09-2008, 02:33 AM
I'm a 6502 child as well. First program was hand-coded assembler on a Commodore PET. Don't remember what it did. After I got my own first computer (Apple //c), I spent literally hundreds and hundreds of hours writing various apps in assembler. The 65C02 was pretty cool, because it had a few instructions the 6502 was lacking (branch always, anyone?).

When I first started playing with the PIC 16C84 back in 1998, I felt like I was home again...

07-09-2008, 02:43 AM
Exactly. And the reason I'm so married to microcontrollers. Although some of the big new AVRs feel like the bad ol' transition away from software one programmer could grok all over again. ;)

07-09-2008, 04:55 AM
That's actually more or less what's keeping me back in programming in C.
Using assembler you're so close-up to what you're actually doing, that C makes me feel completely uncomfortable not knowing what exactly is happening in my code... it's like going 200mph with my gf behind the wheel...

07-09-2008, 05:01 AM
I've gotten to the point now that I don't care as much what's happening in the (machine) code, as long as it does what I want it to do. I can't imagine writing some of my embedded C code in assembler - too much to manage.

With the same idea, and going up in complexity another order of magnitude or three, I can't imagine writing some of my high level Smalltalk code in C. You trade off intimacy for the ability to manage complexity, and its a trade I am happy to make.

07-09-2008, 06:07 AM
I can perfectly understand that, and i've found multiple cases in which using C would have made my life a lot easier, and probably got a lot more projects finished.

I just need to find that little "nudge" to get me going, and i'm hoping the bioloid kit will provide that nudge, given i have a known working system on which i can code C and immediately see the results.

It's not that i havent coded C at all, i have, only i've never tried using interrupts and that would kinda be a real bottleneck when programming microcontrollers :)