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Fun With Pinball

What can you learn from pinball machines?

The devices on these pages demonstrate how individual pinball machine components work.  But taken a step further they can also be used to explain some fundamental principles of science and technology.  Topics that might seem intimidating, tedious or irrelevant may for some become more compelling when explained in the context of a large, tangible and entertaining pinball machine. 

The lessons that follow are intended to give the reader a taste of, or curiosity about the underlying science and technology, to make the topics less mysterious and a little easier to understand, and to encourage those who take interest to pursue more comprehensive sources in class, at the library or online.

Lessons from Pinball Machines

Complex switchesComplex switches Switches and electric current
Single wire loop editedSingle wire loop edited Solenoids, relays and electromagnetism
Flipper coil closeupFlipper coil closeup Flippers, coils and power
Small board electromagnetSmall board electromagnet Electromagnets and acceleration
Gottlieb Chime node demoGottlieb Chime node demo Chimes, vibrations and pitches
  more to come...

Game design example

Studying complete designs is another good way to understand how simple components work together to behave in complex ways.

Puzzle_Design_sch_1Puzzle_Design_sch_1

Visit the game design example to understand how parts of The Puzzle from the Games page work in detail.