By Evan Ackerman
The reason that dominoes are so much fun to knock over is that they take so much effort to set up. This is doubly true if someone else does all the setting up, and you knock them all over by “accident.” This sculpture, by artist Karl Lautman, makes the whole thing moot by doing the setting up and knocking down in one unbroken cycle. Appropriately, it’s called Ouroborus, after the mythical serpent who had the genius idea of continually eating its own tail at the same rate that its front half was growing, providing an endless source of food (and, one has to assume, entertainment).
I can’t attest to how the serpent pulls it off, but the sculpture relies on each domino being attached to a solenoid by some polyester threads in the base. A microcontroller fires off the solenoids in sequence to haul the dominoes back up at the same rate as they topple, which (in case you were wondering) is apparently a crazy hard number to calculate. If anyone wants to work through that, feel free, or just find yourself a bunch of dominoes, a ruler, and a stopwatch.