ByMark Newton, writer at
Movie Pilot Associate Editor. Email:
Mark Newton

Now, I'm not entirely sure what this is all about. But it seems Disney has invested quite a bit of time and resources into figuring out how to basically turn anything into a spinning top.

Presumably, this was all done in order to inform the development of more practical things such as robotics, animation and animatronics. But for the time being we do at least get a rather impressive video which illustrates how much effort goes into creating a simple spinning top. Take a look below:

Spinning tops and yo-yos have long fascinated cultures around the world with their unexpected, graceful motions that seemingly elude gravity. We present an algorithm to generate designs for spinning objects by optimizing rotational dynamics properties. As input, the user provides a solid 3D model and a desired axis of rotation. Our approach then modifies the mass distribution such that the principal directions of the moment of inertia align with the target rotation frame. We augment the model by creating voids inside its volume, with interior fill represented by an adaptive multi-resolution voxelization. The discrete voxel fill values are optimized using a continuous, nonlinear formulation. Further, we optimize for rotational stability by maximizing the dominant principal moment. We extend our technique to incorporate deformation and multiple materials for cases where internal voids alone are insufficient. Our method is well-suited for a variety of 3D printed models, ranging from characters to abstract shapes. We demonstrate tops and yo-yos that spin surprisingly stably despite their asymmetric appearance.

Again, I'm still not entirely sure what this is all leading to, but it just goes to show that Disney do their research before embarking on a project.


Which was your favorite spinning top?

Source: io9

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