Amazing Hand-Operated Instrument Plays With the Help of 2000 Marbles

It took two full years, but Martin Molin from the Swedish band Wintergatan managed to create a truly novel instrument. The large wooden machine runs with a hand-crank on the side; when the player turns the wheel, thousands of marbles inside the machine start to move. Using a conveyor system, the marbles plummet onto various sound-making objects. The majority of the sound comes from the vibraphone, which is a xylophone-like instrument that plays as the marbles fall onto the various keys. Using plugs, the player can manipulate what keys the marbles are hitting and when. 

Besides the vibraphone, there are also levers on the side that control the bass, snare, and kick drum. As the marbles hit the various instruments, they fall into funnels that bring them back into the machine for continuous play. There's also a breakdown arm, which stops the huge wheel from spinning when the user is done playing. Adorably, "Wintergatan Marble Machine" is written in wire at the bottom alongside spinning wooden stars.

You can learn more about the building process through Molin's prologue videos on YouTube.

[h/t Gizmodo]

Header images via YouTube.

© 2017 USPS
Pop Culture
Speedy Delivery: Mister Rogers Will Get His Own Stamp in 2018
© 2017 USPS
© 2017 USPS

USPS 2018 Mister Rogers stamp
© 2017 USPS

After weeks of mailing out this year’s holiday cards, postage might be the last thing you want to think about. But the U.S. Postal Service has just given us a sneak peek at the many iconic people, places, and things that will be commemorated with their own stamps in 2018, and one in particular has us excited to send out a few birthday cards: Mister Rogers.

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, Fred Rogers’s groundbreaking PBS series that the USPS says “inspired and educated young viewers with warmth, sensitivity, and honesty,” the mail service shared a mockup of what the final stamp may look like. On it, Rogers—decked out in one of his trademark colorful cardigans (all of which were hand-knitted by his mom, by the way)—smiles for the camera alongside King Friday XIII, ruler of the Neighborhood of Make-Believe.

Though no official release date for Fred’s forever stamp has been given, Mister Rogers is just one of many legendary figures whose visages will grace a piece of postage in 2018. Singer/activist Lena Horne will be the 41st figure to appear as part of the USPS’s Black Heritage series, while former Beatle John Lennon will be the face of the newest Music Icons collection. Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, will also be honored.

Can You Spot the Christmas Pudding?

Whether it’s a sheep hanging out with Santa Claus or a panda bear hiding among some snowmen, regular Mental Floss readers know that hidden picture brainteasers are one of our favorite things. And the optical experts at have released a delicious one, just in time for Christmas. Somewhere in the midst of all these holiday-themed goodies above, there’s a holiday pudding just waiting to be discovered. Can you spot it? Your time starts … now.

If you give up, or are the kind of person who reads the last page of a book before the first one and just wants to know the answer, scroll down to see where it’s hiding.



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