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Pendulum Wave Animation

Inspired by a video showing the seemingly chaotic movements of pendula of varying lengths, I created this animation in Geogebra.

Using sine functions of varying periods, I was able to create a set of points that oscillate in a manner similar to the pendula in the “Pendulum Waves” video.

Consider the point on the bottom as the timekeeper.  In the the time it takes the bottom point to complete one full trip (from center to right to left back to center), the next point up completes two full trips; the point above that three full trips, and so on.

Since every point is completing a whole number of trips in that amount of time, they will all sync up every time the bottom point is ready to start again.  And watch the “even” points to see when they sync up, too!

Click here to see more in Technology.


  1. Juejun Xiao
    June 29, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    Wow, its cool how if you look all the points at the same time. You will see the points moving as if they are moving in a 3D space. Sometime its look like a moving vortex; sometime it looks like a rotating parabola. It is cool how things moving in a plane, can create a 3D feeling

  2. July 1, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    For some reason this reminded me of this. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlx-M53dC7M&NR=1 In Germany, the BMW museum has this displayed. Not so much of a pendulum, but it seemed to me that these kinetic balls showed various 3D planes and curves (some of the equations used in multi-variable calculus). Thought you might be interested in taking a look at it too.

  3. Brian Nam
    July 1, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    This reminded me of http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLhNdmZ7lDw. Not so much of a pendulum, but the whole ball theme seemed to fit in. For me the bmw kinetic balls reminded me the various equations for curves and planes in 3D (multi-varible calculus). Thought you might be interested in taking a look at it too.

    • Brian Nam
      July 1, 2011 at 2:08 pm

      Sorry for the double post. My first commented didn’t show at first so I posted it up again.

  4. July 4, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    Wow! Thanks for sharing, Brian–that is awesome! At first I thought it was a magnetic sculpture, but the balls are on individual strings. Very cool!

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