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Einstein's rubber

A sheet supporting the balls removing the need for slate
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I like the idea of a billiards/pool/snooker table ( I don't know of a single word for these games) that has the gravity look to it . A table where all the balls have a region of sink of there own or as a group .

To do this the rubber or elastic sheet would have to be special and maybe boardering on magic . If ordinary elastic is used I would imagine, with the one ball case, the stretch would pull in all directions making a cup out to the cushions . This doesn't model the exponential decrease of gravity .

The normal elastic (guessing) would have chains in directions allowing the weight of the ball to be vectored to the cushion . I propose a special rubber to try a get the chains are lined up vertically with cross-links at the top and bottom .

IIIIIIII giving IIIIII\/\/\/IIIIIII when downward pressured .

Depending on the density of hinge cross-links and how the chains transfer the balls weight, the cup formed may better model gravity for the ball game .

Another Try:

A technological way of staging the Einstein sheet would be to have pins underneath the elastic controlled by magnetic actuators that stop the stretching reaching the cushions. Imagine one of those pin pictures covered with elastic . A camera with a bird's eye view from above could generate data allowing plotted ball paths and the rigidisation of the correct pins . As a ball goes over a pin, the pin is allowed to go with the elastic but pins further out from underneath the ball have control placed on them and they deform less .

The more pins the more perfect a circle around a ball otherwise the balls would be contained in line sided geometrical shapes .

This second method would be open to programming and therefore more unthought of ideas because change would be easier than changing the table's elastic with a new formula .

Third Try:

Using a standard table cover the slate in memory foam . Memory foam conforms to shape under heat . Use balls with a high heat retention or balls that can be heated while in play (lights, microwaves) as to make them deform the foam . The foam would have to have cross-links horizontally as to widen the defomation caused by the hot ball .

wjt, Jan 21 2009

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       interesting   

       wouldn't pins make holes in the rubber?   

       only kidding.
po, Jan 21 2009
  

       Are you trying to create a little 'gravity well' around each ball? Would you hope, in some circumstances, to get two balls to orbit each other (not sure how)?
pertinax, Jan 21 2009
  

       I think I get the idea, but not the purpose. You certainly can't play pool on this. The other annos' idea of orbits would also be tough without amazingly accurate and fast pin actuation. To have a real coolness factor, you'd need to do different sized/massed balls so you could say have an Earth/Moon set and maybe an asteroid. So I'd say you can't rely on any elastic fabric and gravity, you'd need a computer controlled grid of pins with the sheet attached to the tips set so the sheet mimics the computer model.
MisterQED, Jan 21 2009
  

       [wjt]: cue sports - they're all played with a cue.
Jinbish, Jan 21 2009
  

       //cue sports//
[Sports enters, stage left]
coprocephalous, Jan 21 2009
  

       The thing about, say, a pool cue, is that it has a thin tip to strike the cue ball... and a *heavy* end for, well... if you would just step just a little bit closer, [copro], I shall demonstrate...
Jinbish, Jan 21 2009
  

       [Sports leaves, over the orchestra]
po, Jan 21 2009
  

       [...chased by a 'Bish]
coprocephalous, Jan 21 2009
  

       [Why, I oughtta!.......... ]
Jinbish, Jan 21 2009
  

       Love the idea, but no clue how it could be built.   

       I am reminded of those mattresses with individual spring coils, you can bounce on one side without disturbing the other side...   

       This could work as a video game. That opens a lot of possibilities... like balls that, when they touch, glob onto each other to create bigger planets, shots that send balls into permanent orbit... ? As a video game you can concentrate on the physics, and ignore the constraints of physical materials.
gonzola, Jan 21 2009
  

       {orchestra strikes up 'Yackety Sax'}
pertinax, Jan 21 2009
  

       Ah yes, cued ball sports .   

       [MisterQED] I was hoping to physically play . Maybe removing the slate was a bad idea, can't rest to cue . Spiders (jiggers) from the ceiling, anyone .   

       Some things are better imagined than done .   

       The special elastic would be the most elegant though .
wjt, Jan 22 2009
  
      
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