Never before has watching balls be moved around been so satisfying.
I often enjoy watching the educational programming of NHK’s E-Tele in the mornings with my family while we get ready for the day. It’s full of fun and educational shows that teach everything from English to geography, and Pitagora Switch (Japanese pronunciation of “Pythagora Switch”) is a big crowd favorite. It showcases cute little machines similar to Rube Goldberg devices where a ball travels along an array of painstakingly arranged cups, springs, ramps, pulleys and whatever else they can cram in to get to the other end.
My two-year-old daughter always gets a kick out of its blend of physics and fun, and now apparently so does much of the Western world after a segment of the show posted onto YouTube has received rave reviews on Reddit for its unique combination of story-telling and Rube Goldberg machinations.
Since 2002, the Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK) has been running a educational program aimed at fostering creative thinking among children called “Pitagora Suicchi”, which translates to “PythagoraSwitch”.
While the focus of the 15-minute program is a puppet show directed toward kids aged six and below, it has become a hit with adults as well thanks to short intermission segments featuring complex contraptions called “Pythagora Devices”, which are essentially Rube Goldberg machines made from simple household items.
Last week, NHK aired a special one-hour spin-off of the show aimed at stimulating adult minds, complete with powered-up versions of the popular Pythagora Devices. The segments are absolutely mesmerizing to watch and, lucky for us, have been compiled in a single video, which you can find embedded below!