Water Pachinko

October 14, 2008
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Water-based game with hydrophobic paper

For the Takeo Company-sponsored exhibition Haptic, designer Kenya Hara created an alternative version of one of Japan’s favorite pastimes. Instead of using electric-light-filled colored boxes and metal balls, Hara employed a simple plane of white paper and water droplets. Paper and water do not necessarily make a great pairing, but once an NTT-provided super-hydrophobic coating is applied, the water beads up on the surface almost like spheres of a solid material.

In a reference to Pachinko and Western pinball games, Hara tilted the white paper panel on an incline and applied white paper pill-like nubs in a pattern. The distinguishing feature of Hara’s “game” is that water droplets may either split into multiple spheres or combine with other droplets. As long as the diameter of the droplet does not break 3 mm, it is tenacious at maintaining its globular shape, but once the diameter exceeds 10 mm, the droplet transforms into an amoebalike creature striving to form a single entity while continually metamorphosing.

Hara has created an intriguing and refreshing new version of Pachinko. While the traditional game numbs the senses with loud noises, bright lights, and conventional ball movements, Water Pachinko awakens the senses with the quiet, unadorned, continuously evolving animation of unpredictable fluid dynamics.

Contact: Kenya Hara, Tokyo, Japan.

For more information, see Transmaterial 2: A Catalog of Materials That Redefine our Physical Environment

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