Artichoke Zoetrope

Which is a new thing from John Edmark, who makes amazing 3D printed Zoetropey devices:

zoetrope

For which he has kindly made an instructables page.

I’ve been following his stuff for a while now – was hoping he’d try the zoetrope thing with a pinecone or a sunflower or something – but if you’ve got an artichoke, the solution to every problem looks like an artichoke.

137.5ยบ is the golden angle… which I haven’t really looked into a whole lot. This is the angle-spacing between petals etc… I seem to remember reading somewhere that this angle in sunflowers minimises the elastic tension between the seeds… I think in plants, it also maximises the amount of light hitting the plant as a whole. Phyllotaxis.

Golden_Angle.svg

Goldener_Schnitt_Blattstand

It’s quite interesting how the solutions to really complex computational problems can precipitate naturally out of really simple mathematics. Simplicity is its own reward… especially if you don’t have an actual brain or whatever. Do plants have brains? Not noticeably – so how are they doing this maths? It’s a conundrum.

(oh yea – if you’re thinking of using ‘Artichoke Zoetrope’ as a band name, or some sort of boutique startup company name, or the name of your child etc… don’t. Just because it hasn’t been done yet, doesn’t mean it should be.)

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