On the Easter weekend, our latest work was inaugurated at the internationally renowned Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) in Japan: the kinematic sculpture of a Möbius Kaleidocycle. As architectural art, this project now highlights the foyer of the Mathematics, Mechanics, and Materials Unit, where it creates an optical bridge between science and aesthetics.
Möbius Kaleidocycles belong to the field of kinematics and were described worldwide for the first time in 2018 in a scientific paper by the OIST researchers Johannes Schönke and Eliot Fried. In the future, their discovery can be used for work in the fields of mechanical engineering, robotics, chemistry, physics, and mathematics. Kaleidocycles are ring bodies that consist of a chain of polyhedra. In the case of a Möbius Kaleidocycle, its chain-like ring connection has the shape and topology of a Möbius strip, which has no front and back and is therefore not orientable. It consists of only one edge and one side, so that no distinction can be made between bottom and top or inside and outside. This is what makes it so exciting as an object not only for scientists.
After many test runs in our workshop, we finally manufactured the kinetic sculpture based on the first prototypes of the scientists. We installed a specially implemented belt drive and perfectly balanced hinges to ensure that the geometric shapes do not swing freely in space and move without impeding each other.
Due to the pandemic, the construction was difficult as our team could not leave Germany. So we not only had to ship all the individual parts of the installation, but also a 120-page set-up documentation to Japan.