Your Personal Nonstop Kinetic Sand Sculptor, ‘Sisyphus’, Is Here

Let’s visualize the Zen of relaxing geometric patterns and intricate mandalas, all sculpted in sand. Well, there is an artist who turned this vision into a reality for users without them lifting a finger.

Check out your personal, nonstop kinetic sand sculptor, “Sisyphus”.


For the last 20 years, an artist Bruce Shapiro worked in designing kinetic sculptures. In order to discover a way to link science with his art, he worked on motion-control technology. In conclusion, he created CNC art tools and designed a completely functional coffee table, the Sisyphus. The Sisyphus system is being illustrated as an instrument by Shapiro:

“Over time I have come to view Sisyphus as more than a kinetic art piece: it is an instrument. As a musical instrument plays songs, Sisyphus plays paths.”


The system has been named after the Greek mythological king called Sisyphus, who was punished to roll a giant rock up to the hill and down for eternity. Similarly, Sisyphus also rolls on forever, thereby creating intricate designs.


In order to design endless mesmerizing patterns on the sand, the mechanism of the Sisyphus draws on basic physics and motion control. A layer of sand covers the table, and a small, magnetized iron ball rolls atop the sand.


Dozens of patterns are being played in an endless loop by motors of Sisbodt. Raspberry Pi computer control two motors that is ‘playing’ the pattern files by magnetizing the iron ball on the sand until you unplug it. Therefore, we can say that the “eternity” of Sisyphus is as long as users decide. Conversely, you can create your favourite playlist, control the table lighting, speed of drawing by any browser or a mobile app.


Shapiro told:

“My goal with this Kickstarter is to get Sisyphus into people’s homes for them to enjoy as both furniture and art, but also, to inspire a community of composers to write “music” for it.”


Three unique different models of the Sisyphus series of distinct sizes have been designed by Shapiro. However, he is willing to get some support by means of his Kickstarter campaign. Also, it is an incredible chance to get one for anyone who would like to have meditative robotic artwork.


Bruce Shapiro also said:

“I grew up enchanted by music, electronics, and making things. I pursued a career in medicine and spent several years as a practicing physician. My childhood interests in the building were rekindled when I first brought home a 286 computer and discovered I could use it to control motors from discarded floppy drives… EggBot (1990), my first art robot, was created out of necessity. Since then I have devoted myself to using motion control for making art and education tools.”


You can check out Shapiro’s Kickstarter in case you want to know more details about the project such as hardware and software overviews.

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