August 24, 2016

The physics of steadicams - a lab idea?

I recently heard a podcast on the design and operation of steadicams by the excellent Stuff You Should Know podcast. The podcast took much of the information from this article: How Steadicams Work | HowStuffWorks.

The part of the article that caught my eye the most was this:
Increasing the object's moment of inertia makes it harder to shake the camera unintentionally. One way to increase the moment of inertia would be to add more weight to the camera system, but this would make things harder for the cameraman. Instead, Garrett Brown decided to take the existing components of the camera and spread them out. This increases the distance between the axis of rotation and the mass of the total camera assembly, making the camera more resistant to rotation.
I wonder if it would be possible to develop a physics demonstration, or better, a lab based on the physics of the steadicam.  I know there are some consumer-grade steadicam mounts, but I'm not sure if those would be useful for a physics lab.

I'm just brainstorming here, but what if there was a lab where students had a goal of developing a steadicam mount for either their phone or a camera that we have in the lab. There might be constraints on the construction or mass of the mount and/or some sort of guidelines on the assessment of the effectiveness of the mount.  Or maybe what would be even better is if students developed their own methods of assessing the effectiveness of the mount.

I'd love to hear your thoughts and ideas related to steadicam physics.

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