Google Celebrates Alexander Calder’s 113th Birthday with Calder Mobile Doodle
By on July 22nd, 2011

Google continues the tradition of celebrating important events with a doodle, and look what it’s celebrating today. It’s Alexander Calder’s 113th Birthday. Alexander Calder was an American sculptor, artist and most famous for inventing the mobile. In addition to that, he also created paintings, toys, lithographs, and household objects.

He was a playful artist and a leading exponent of kinetic art. Kinetic art is a type of art that works with moving things or depends on motion for its effect. He invented a type of sculpture called Calder mobile. This type of sculpture is usually abstract in shape and bright in color. It moves freely and uses the principle of equilibrium, with rods from which weighted objects or further rods hang.

Google Doodle - Alexander Calder's 113th Birthday

Today’s doodle shows the Calder mobile, honoring the great artist with an interactive doodle on it’s homepage. The following video gives an idea of the interactive moving doodle:

The doodle moves on its own and can be controlled by mouse gestures. Moreover, according to Google’s Marissa Mayer, you can even move  it gravitationally by rocking your laptop. Well, that did not work for me though.

Update: You require an accelerometer-equipped laptop to move it gravitationally.

Google Doodle - Alexander Calder's 113th Birthday

Calder invented the mobile “by bending and twisting wire, he essentially ‘drew’ three-dimensional figures in space,” according to the biography on the Calder Foundation website. The mobile on Google’s homepage is colored according to Google’s logo (characters) and was inspired by a work called “The Star”

Read:  Google Celebrates Charlie Chaplin’s 122nd Birthday With A Video Doodle

This doodle is made entirely using HTML5 canvas, so you would need the latest browser that supports HTML5 to play with it.  Clicking on the mobile will take you to the search results of Calder.

According to the post by Google software engineer Jered Wierzbicki,

It runs a physics simulation on the mobile’s geometry, and then does realtime 3D rendering with vector graphics. Only recently have browsers advanced to the point where this is possible.

The doodle worked brilliantly on Chrome 12 and Firefox 5 for me. However, the doodle causes a  crash in Firefox on Linux  and is not working fine of Internet Explorer 9.

Calder’s Bio

DOB: 22th July 1898
Birth Place: Pennsylvania
Death Date: 11th November 1976
Death Place: New York
Occupation: Sculpture Artist

Other Google Doodles  -

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Author: Joel Fernandes Google Profile for Joel Fernandes
Joel Fernandes (G+) is a tech enthusiast and a social media blogger. During his leisure time, he enjoys taking photographs, and photography is one of his most loved hobbies. You can find some of his photos on Flickr. He does a little of web coding, and maintains a tech blog of his own - Techo Latte. Joel is currently pursuing his Masters in Computer Application from Bangalore, India. You can get in touch with him on Twitter - @joelfernandes, or visit his Facebook Profile for more information.

Joel Fernandes has written and can be contacted at joel@techie-buzz.com.

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