By Kyle Petersen


The ball is one of the oldest toys on earth. For the vast majority of human existence, there’s been little innovation with respect to ball construction and design. With the advent of the industrial revolution, things began to change slowly. New synthetic materials and construction techniques made it possible to build balls of consistent weight and size. Even so, there’s been surprisingly few innovations with respect to ball making.

One group bucking that trend and trying to build a better ball is STEIM Amsterdam (STudio for Electro-Instrumental Music, Amsterdam), a “leading institution in research, development and facilitating live electronic music and arts”. STEIM has worked with Gandini Juggling to make one of the first electronic sound juggling balls. Each ball is implanted with a microchip, and makes a sound when thrown. The sounds are controlled though a mixing board, making it possible to play a song simply by juggling!

Juggling Sound Ball Demo from STEIM Amsterdam on Vimeo.

For another example of space-age balls, we have Australian juggler Phillip Edwards, who shows off fancy siteswap know-how as well as some fancy programmable balls. Edwards explains:

The balls are programmed to be a certain colour determined by the vertical distance from my hand. The colour ranges from purple at the bottom up through blue, green, yellow, orange to red at the top of the highest throw – like a rainbow.

It requires fairly precise timing to keep in sync with the programmed timing. Some siteswaps I do a good job with it; others are not quite as in sync.

  • Rodney D

    Whats the password to view these videos? Oh yeah, 1..2..3..4!

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