Sisyphus III opened in Technorama, Winterthur, Switzerland, as part of a show called "MatheMagie" which opened on September 19th, 2003. This is a large group of permanent exhibits that touch upon diverse mathematical themes. Sisyphus now toils upon his perch, in the heart of the space.

Completed paths:
Sisyphus III
Sisyphus III
Sisyphus III
Sisyphus III

flyerProject history:

In mid-May, 2003, I received a phone call from the director of Technorama. He was interested in the possibility of permanently installing a sand plotter as part of a large mathematics exhibition. The time frame was extremely tight--the exhibition was set to open in less than four months time. I flew to Zurich in June for a two day visit and, after seeing the intended site, proposed a much larger version-- 3 meters in disameter. After several weeks of technical analysis, the highly capable staff at Technorama and I agreed upon the structural design and components, to be fabricated in Switzerland.

The site is suspended within a large opening between the first and second floor exhibit spaces:

from above
from below

Virtual models I constructed during the design and planning phase:

from above

from below

Animation of virtual model, as seen from below (2Mb)

Photos of fabrication progress in Technorama shop (Aug. 15):

R-Theta mechanism

with sand-holding membrane

Testing new acceleration profiles on a variety of computers at home, prior to sending them off for testing on the new mechanics in Switzerland (Sept. 7):

Heinz and I worked back and forth over the 7 hour time change virtually nonstop during the short two week period we had remaining, as the electromechanical construction neared completion. I made a number of improvements to the software (e.g. adjustment of the ball's speed depending on how far out from the center it is, and smoother acceleration / deceleration allowing much more rapid path completion). He affixed the membrane and attached the wooden ring on Sept. 11, and we were ready for the first real test path:

Our first test run, created in AutoCAD in my office and running in Technorama's shop:

autocad version
AutoCAD path


Then for some fun: test paths: (9/12-13, 2003)