2 min read

PocketLab Voyager Shows the Science Behind Juggling

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Using a PocketLab Voyager, can an engineer prove that you cannot juggle more than 14 balls at a time? Unfortunately, it's not that simple, but working with world record holder Alex Barron, and strapping a PocketLab Voyager to his wrists, Jack Kalvan was able to look at the science behind juggling.

The current world record for the number of balls juggled is 11. The current record for a juggling "flash" is 14. Both are held by Alex.

A "flash" in juggling is where each ball is thrown and caught only once.

In the video below, Jack Kalvan straps a PocketLab Voyager to the wrist of Alex and wants to measure the speed and acceleration of his wrists. With the data that he collects over a series of consecutive increases in the number of balls juggled, he can then predict how many balls could be juggled if a certain wrist speed was reached.

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With his acceleration values as a base and knowing that the most he has ever been able to "flash" was 14, what happens when Alex "air juggles" to measure the upper limits of his speed? Well, according to Jack's calculations Alex would be able to juggle 23-25 balls at once! But speed is not the only factor. Once the balls are in the air, you still need to be able to accurately catch each one on their way down.

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Using PocketLab Notebook to collect this data has allowed Jack to analyze how speed and acceleration correlate while juggling larger and larger numbers of objects. Analyzing the science behind juggling has revealed the human limits on what is possible. Jack even wrote a book about the topic, "When Balls Collide: Understanding the Skill of Juggling".

His book is a scientific look at the skill of juggling and includes the physical forces involved, the mathematical equations that relate, and the data from a PocketLab Voyager to show what is possible and what is impossible. 

Watch the video below to learn more. We have the link set up to skip ahead to the science behind the talent.


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