The Harmonograph Swingset, capturing the frequency of love and friendship

TED Blog

Two attendees on the the Harmonograph Swingset, a TK. Photo: James Duncan Davidson/TED Two attendees on the the Harmonograph Swingset, an adaptation of a 19th-century invention that turns the frequency of relationships into art. Photo: James Duncan Davidson/TED

If a meet-cute is going to happen at TED2015, it will likely happen downstairs on the first level at the Harmonograph Swingset. This modern-day, hand-crafted timber swing, a take on a 19th-century invention, records harmonic frequencies as visual art.

The swingset is made of two seats, set at right angles and connected to two poles on universal joints, which operate like pendulums. It is operated by human weight. The two pendulums meet in the middle at a marker, which hovers over an enormous piece of heavy drawing paper. When TED attendees sit two at a time in the swing, the pens move across the paper, forming a precise graphic record of the harmonic frequency of the pair.

“Each visual representation is one of a kind,”…

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