(photo credit: gomboc.eu)
A Gömböc (pronounced 'goemboets', from the Hungarian for dumpling) is a strange thing. It looks like an egg with edges, and it seems to have a life on its own. It has two points of equilibrium, stable and unstable. If you place it on a table it will start rolling around until it flips itself upright. Yes, it is a self-righting object regardless of which side you put it on.
(photo credit: expo2010china.hu)
The Gömböc is a result of a long mathematical quest. In 1995 Russian mathematician Vladimir Arnold postulated the existence of convex, homogeneous mono-monostatic objects. It intrigued two scientists - Gábor Domokos and Péter Várkonyi, both of the Budapest University of Technology and Economics. They began to look for a naturally occurring example. Domokos studied 2000 pebbles during his honeymoon in Greece, but none of them could right themselves.
Domokos and Várkonyi used mathematics to design an object that comes up by itself. The result was reminiscent of a turtle, which they had not predicted in advance! The shell of the Indian star tortoise (Geochelone elegans) allows the tortoise to right itself with minimal effort, it proves such monostatic object could exist.
The main challenge in making a Gömböc is an incredible level of precision: a Gömböc of diameter 10 cm admits a tolerance less than 0.1 mm. Besides that both mathematicians believed that the Gömböc should be manufactured from transparent material; otherwise, the homogeneity of the object would be hard to demonstrate.
Finally 3D printing technology has been used to create the Gömböc series. Gömböc 001, the very first one was a gift of the inventors to Professor V.I. Arnold on his 70th birthday. The Gömböc logo and serial number have been printed inside the Gömböc 001 using an Objet 3D printer, and it worked reliably under physically realistic conditions.
In 2007, New York Times Magazine selected the Gömböc as one of the most interesting seventy inventions of the year - for its extreme precision, harmony and abstract beauty.
Posted in 3D Print Applications
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Anja wrote at 8/17/2012 12:11:53 PM:
Thanks Tom, I have also removed it from the site. Thank you for the tip.
Tom wrote at 8/17/2012 10:17:45 AM:
Video was removed