ball bearings

Trip-a-matic 1960?

TOMORROW: Get your travel information, accommodations, and tickets in an instant - electronically!

Imagine the ease…the simplicity! Trip-a-matic, activated by push buttons and your charge plate, checks accommodations, makes reservations, prints tickets and bills you later!

Jules Verne never imagined it this quick!

Reuleaux Triangle Part III: Ball Bearings

A shape of constant diameter has a constant height. This is all that matters for rolling on top of something while staying at a constant level. While I cannot confirm, I have heard that the Ancient Egyptians would move stone blocks on Reuleaux triangle rollers instead of circular ones, because wood was expensive and scarce. However, the constant height does not mean the center of mass stays in the same place throughout the movement. Rotating it changes the potential energy. This means that it tends to stay fairly local, as it takes work to get over the energy hump, although things on it locally roll smoothly. They do not bunch up the way a shape that has a flat energy landscape would, meaning that unlike with spheres, you would not need to cover the entire ground in shapes of constant diameter in order to make a perfect field of ball bearings, reducing cost by requiring fewer shapes to do the same job.


The Bradley - Eone

This tactile watch by US design company Eone was originally designed for use by blind people, with two stainless steel ball bearings that rotate around the watch thanks to an inbuilt magnet. The smaller ball on the front face of the watch is representative of minutes while the larger one around the circumference represents hours. 

The watch has been named after Bradley Snyder - an ex-naval officer who lost his eyesight in an explosion in Afghanistan in 2011 yet went on to win gold and silver medals at the 2012 Paralympic games.

Stylistically I love the simplicity of the black titanium timepiece and the intricate weave of the steel mesh strap, yet I can’t escape the feeling I’d grow frustrated at the use of ball bearings over more traditional hands. 

The watch is exclusively available at: Dezeen Watchstore

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After the Apollo 1 fire, NASA engineers were instructed that nothing could be made from flammable materials from then on. This included all metal on metal mechanical pieces that used oil- based lubricants. Engineers were able to develop ruby ball bearings. They were used on all subsequent Apollo missions.