Atsuko Yukawa Creates Homopolar Motor Sculptures Using Wire and a Battery

Japanese artist Atsuko Yukawa runs a small studio called Trill where she primarily spends her time illustrating birds. But recently, in her spare time, she’s been experimenting with simple wire sculptures. At first sight they don’t seem like much, but that’s because they’ve been designed for a very specific purpose: to be carefully balanced on a battery.

The science behind what makes these sculptures move is called a homopolar motor: a direct current electric motor that produces constant circular motion. They’re remarkably easy to build. Yukawa’s sculptures, on the other hand, are not. To build the homopolar motar, all you need is a small magnet on one end of a battery. Then place a free-standing conducting wire on top, thus completing the circuit.

Yukawa’s sculptures are simple but mesmerizing. And perhaps what makes them so great is the bonus cat footage at the end of each video!


  1. take that, Kandinsky!

  2. So hypnotic! A nice spin (pun intended) on a stand by science demonstration – nice!!

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