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LED seesaw gives illuminated physics lesson … remains fun


June 24, 2012

Using accelerometers the Tilt of Light seesaw can show users how their movement would impact and control other objects on the beam

Using accelerometers the Tilt of Light seesaw can show users how their movement would impact and control other objects on the beam

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If you're anything like us, you probably spent many an hour in your younger days bouncing up and down on a seesaw (or teeter-totter or teeter board, depending on where you grew up. And, even now, you might fight the desire to relive your childhood and jump on one as you walk past a playground. But Melbourne-based design group ENESS has created a seesaw, which comes complete with hundreds of LEDs and a physics engine to explore the forces at work on the familiar playground staple, that might just prove too difficult to resist.

The 'A Tilt of Light' seesaw has been fitted with 33 rows of lights that react in real time to the motion and angle of the lever as children (and the occasional inquisitive adult) ride the playground equipment up and down. The high-tech seesaw was installed at Federation Square in Melbourne, Australia, as part of a lighting festival called The Light in Winter.

While the Tilt of Light operates on the same lever and fulcrum mechanics as any other seesaw, and even has retro half tire bumpers, inside it's considerably more technologically advanced than possibly any other pieces of playground equipment we've seen before, including the Son-X Octavia swing attachment.

Each of the 33 lighting sections between the seats is packed with LEDs and can be illuminated independently. Using accelerometers this means the seesaw can show users how their movement would impact and control other objects on the beam – represented by 'balls of light'. At the rear of the seesaw seats there are another 180 LEDs, which flash when the 'objects' would have left the beam.

But that's not all, the built-in physics engine means users can also see how their 'ball of light' that represents various physical balls would be impacted by being in one of four different environments – air, water, space and yogurt. Yes, yogurt. By clicking one of four buttons before the rocking begins, the LED sections respond as though they are traveling though the selected atmosphere. As you would expect, movement is considerably slower through yogurt.

If you want to learn about physics, or just have fun on an illuminated seesaw, 'A Tilt of Light' will be on show in Melbourne's Fed Square from June 1st to July 1st.

Source: ENESS

Here's a quick video showing how the LED seesaw in action.

About the Author
Simon Crisp Simon is a journalist and photographer who has spent the last ten years working for national UK newspapers - but has never hacked a mobile phone - and specializes in writing about weird products and photography technology. When not writing for Gizmag, Simon is often found playing with LEGO and drinking far too much coffee. All articles by Simon Crisp

Cool! This is a great concept. It can also lure children away from video games into the playground.


No council in England would ever pay out for this, good concept though.


Very nice. Though the name should be enDLess Fun.


Flashy lights and energy generated by humans and kinetic force, but is that all of what this and further decades ideas will result in? As with solar we seemed to be doing nothing but adding it on to stuff and claiming victory, maybe we'll see a truly out of the box thinking soon.

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