GyroXtreme – a Human-Powered Gyroscope!

May 12, 2011

At the Houston Museum of Natural Science, we are all about learning and having fun. Explore the principles of physics – up close – in our  new GyroXtreme, which uses two types of axis motion to send a rider spinning in looping arcs.

The earliest known gyroscope instrument was invented in 1817 by Johann Bohnenberger. In 1852, Leon Foucault created a version to see the rotation of the earth, which is where the gyroscope gets its name: the Greek word for “to see” is skopeein and the word for rotation is gyros.

Gyroscopes are often used to replace magnetic compasses or to allow objects to spin in any direction. Gyroscopes can be found in a wide range of things, from ballistic missiles, to romote control helicopters, to yo-yos, to even the Hubble Telescope.

Here at the Museum, you can experience a gyroscope for yourself!

Once inside, you’ll experience 2 kinds of motion: along the first axis, the cage holding 2 passengers can spin as a traditional gyroscope does, at right angles to the bottom of the seats and perpendicular to the ground. This is comparable to spinning like a ballerina.

The second spin axis is parallel to the seat bottoms, connected at waist level to the riders’ cage. This is similar to the motion of a gymnast spinning around a bar.

When the 2 spinning motions are combined, the riders move in looping arcs! Check out this video of one of our brave staff as she spins in all sorts of weird directions.

Can’t see the video? Click here.

Our GyroXtreme is located in the Grand Hall – check it out the next time you’re here!

Authored By Steven Cowan

Steven never dreamed his first job out of college would be in public relations, and on top of that working for one of the top museums in the country. After all, he majored in History at Vassar College. Within three months of graduation, he landed a spot in the PR department and has not looked back since. He is fast becoming a communications fanatic, spending a tremendous amount of his time promoting the museum and all it has to offer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Become An HMNS Member

With a membership level for everyone; Don't just read about it, see it.

View All Membership Levels

Editor's Picks Lou The Corpse Flower : Why He Smells So Bad And Why We Should Be Excited When He Blooms Wait Just A Minute! Let’s Take A Second To Talk About the Origin Of Time Keeping. The Krak Des Chevaliers: A Tough Nut To Krak Polar Dinosaurs Are Real And They Are More Adorable Than Elves Gosh that Corpse Looks Delicious: The Disturbing World of the Medieval Apothecary Hurricane Harvey Update
Follow And Subscribe

Equally Interesting Posts

HMNS at Hermann Park

5555 Hermann Park Dr.
Houston,Texas 77030
(713) 639-4629

Get Directions Offering varies by location
HMNS at Sugar Land

13016 University Blvd.
Sugar Land, Texas 77479
(281) 313-2277

Get Directions Offering varies by location
George Observatory

21901 FM 762 Rd.
Needville, Texas 77461
(281) 242-3055

Tuesday - Saturday By Reservation
Saturdays 3:00PM - 10:00PM
Saturdays (DST) 3:00PM - 11:00PM
DST = Daylight Savings Time.
Please call for holiday hours. Entry to Brazos Bend State Park ends at 9:30 p.m. daily
Get Directions Offering varies by location

Stay in the know. Join our mailing list.