Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Chatter Stones from Edmund Scientific

Chatter Stones are really highly polished magnets shaped like pointy jelly beans. Here's a quick video of them in use. No, I wasn't in a zero-gravity environment; I just had to have the camera sideways. You'll have to turn your speakers way up, since the microphone on the camera wasn't very good. Sorry.

This short clip doesn't do justice to the range of sounds you will learn to get out of these stones. Not to mention the weird clinks, whistles and raspberries you'll get one time only by accident.

The basic method here is to slightly separate these powerful magnets with your thumb and toss them into the air. The Chatter Stones then work out their love-hate relationship of magnetic attraction and repulsion. They're spinning in the air as they meet, and quickly pull themselves together and push themselves away. The polished, rounded surfaces of the magnets keep them from coming to a standstill too soon.

Some other fun I've had with these powerful magnets has included putting one on a wooden table while the other one is held in my hand, a few inches away. You can play with the repulsion and attraction of the magnets to set the one on the table spinning like a top. Or you can play a sort of game to see how close you can get the magnets together before they SLAM together.

Chatter Stones make an affordable stocking (or other gift bag) stuffer for the upcoming holiday season. Really, you should get one for everyone in your circle of family and friends. Imagine the sounds you could get from more than two of these stones!

I see Edmund also has a larger version called Uber-Orbs. Wish I'd gotten a set of those. I'm also adding their magnetic pendulum to my wish list.



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