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Techno-organic Corn Starch Monster

All > Video > Techno-organic Corn Starch Monster by hfp
It started out as a normal boring day browsing Youtube, but we came upon this video of someone vibrating cornstarch and water ('oobleck') and it making all sorts of weird and crazy shapes.

Nate figured, hey, we have corn starch, some old speakers, an amplifier, and a laptop, we can do this ourselves, today!

Here is what resulted:

Download in HD 480p or 720p, or HD source footage (Thanks!)

Here's our setup - a large speaker that we didn't mind ruining. It's connected to an amplifier, which we also didn't mind ruining - though we didn't end up ruining it.

We used Nate's laptop as a tone generator running the trial software NCH Tone Generator, giving out a 60Hz sine wave. We found that frequency had little bearing on the effect - volume was what really mattered. This was nice because we could set the frequency to 60.1Hz and our HD camera shutter speed fairly high to give the bouncing effect in the video.
To begin with, the effect was not very pronounced. We made a few mistakes here - we had elevated the container from the speaker, and only attached it with tape, causing most of the vibration power to be lost. Later we just put plastic wrap on the speaker itself, allowing all of the energy to be transferred.
That said, we did crank up the volume and the body of the cornstarch tried to escape, you remember that moment from the video. We edited out our screams of fear and surprise.
We got much more pronounced results putting the goo onto the speaker itself. Of course by now it was getting a little boring! What do we do now? Of course, use the dye that turns your pee blue!
Just a flick of the cap sends veins of beautiful blue along the undulating surface.
We then experimented with various viscosities - this is very diluted, mostly water. Jesse played a prank on Brenda which you can see in the source footage - he told her to look closely at the waves and then he blasted the volume, spraying her with starchy goo!
Nate wanted to see what happened with just plain water, and managed to make these pretty waves but not much else. They are very pretty though.
Of course, why should we stop there? We had another fun dye, Fluorescein, hanging about. You'll remember it from Nate's Time Fountain (it also turns your pee fluorescent). A flick of the cap again turns the vibrating goo into a techno-rave monster!
It's at about this time that the speaker started smoking - we were pumping way too much power through it. We figured we should probably stop.
Left to right: Nate True, Brenda Ferguson, Erin Ferguson (Jesse's sister), Ruwan Randeniya.
Not shown: Jesse Ferguson

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Posted by royalestel 8 years ago ( 17-Apr-2007 11:35:16 )

I think if you shined a bright light from the side at vibrating water, and the speaker was pure black, then you'd get white reflective wave patterns in time with the music. An effect to add to a music video?

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