Archive for the ‘K is for Kinematic’ Category

K is for Kinematic

Saturday, May 9th, 2009

Kinematics is the study of how things move. What caused the object to move is no concern, its purpose is to describe motion by tracking an object’s position, velocity and acceleration. There are obviously various types of motions, for instance Earth, galaxies and atomic particles spin, and objects can move forwards, backwards, rotate, or swing like a pendulum. While the origin of kinematics emerged with engineer Franz Reuleaux to demonstrate motion for the assembly of machine, today its principles are being employed to engineer moveable parts in the area of robotics, as well as nanorobotics, as scientists such as Robert A. Freitas hope that kinematic research will lead to the mass manufacture of molecularly-precise, self-replicating machines. Also, motion-based kinematic techniques that simulate the movement of people are currently being embraced by firms such as architecture+vision to engineer responsive architecture, whereas in gaming and 3D animation, inverse kinematics is being used by programmers to generate simulated, character-motion based on accurate life-like anatomical behaviors. Kinematics also allows for the development of novel-shaped structures in space, such as crafts or habitats, and if NASA scientists are successful in employing kinematic dynamo theory, these space systems could be surrounded by a magnetic bubble or plasma shield to ensure safety. Considering kinematics is also interpreted as the geometry of pure motion, it has been suggested that sinceĀ  2D and 3D shapes dominate in our universe, we are living in a kinematic geometric world. It’s even been suggested that the universe is shaped like a torus or doughnut, or perhaps as R. Buckminster Fuller proposed, a tetrahedron. Now, as to whether this tetrahedron shape is nature’s invisible mechanic, a resonating, motion-activator that keeps life and our universe in constant motion is, well, beyond science. But, like the kinematic acrylic glass images of Vasarely, we all know that movement impressions are created by one’s view. Left spin, everyone!