Google Honors Creativity of Alexander Calder

By Ed Silverstein July 25, 2011

Google admires innovation and creativity. It’s no accident that the U.S. company chose to honor the American artist Alexander Calder on Friday – which was his 113th birthday.

Calder’s work appeared as a homepage “doodle” on the Google site. Calder was perhaps best known for inventing the mobile, Google Software Engineer Jered Wierzbicki explained in a blog post.

Calder attended Stevens Institute of Technology and graduated from the school in 1919 with an engineering degree. Calder worked as both a hydraulics engineer and automotive engineer – before switching to art.

“In the fall of 1931, a significant turning point in Calder's artistic career occurred when he created his first truly kinetic sculpture and gave form to an entirely new type of art,” according to a biography from the Calder Foundation. “The first of these objects moved by systems of cranks and motors, and were dubbed ‘mobiles’ by Marcel Duchamp – in French mobile refers to both ‘motion’ and ‘motive.’ Calder soon abandoned the mechanical aspects of these works when he realized he could fashion mobiles that would undulate on their own with the air's currents.”

What is interesting as well is that Friday’s doodle was Google’s first doodle made by using just HTML5 canvas, Wierzbicki said.

“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,” Wierzbicki said, adding that a modern browser was recommended for viewing Friday’s doodle.

“I like to think Calder would have appreciated today’s doodle, since we’re setting up shapes and abstractions and letting them act on their own,” Wierzbicki added in the blog post.

“Calder took ordinary materials at hand – wire, scraps of sheet metal – and made them into brilliant forms, letting space and motion do the rest. As an engineer, I work with abstractions, too, so this really struck me,” Wierzbicki said.

“It’s an interesting example of what browsers are capable of today,” SlashGear adds in its comments on the doodle by Google honoring Calder. “Considering Google is pushing for Chrome OS on its Chromebooks as the next generation of consumer computers, we’re curious to see what slightly more functional uses of HTML5 Canvas might be in the search giant’s labs.”

There have been many noteworthy doodles by Google honoring creative innovators. For example, in June, Google celebrated the birthday of electric guitar inventor Les Paul, when it displayed an interactive play-along doodle on its search page, TechZone360 said.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2011, taking place Sept. 13-15, 2011, in Austin, Texas. ITEXPO offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It's also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities. To register, click here.

Ed Silverstein is a TechZone360 contributor. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell

TechZone360 Contributor

Related Articles

6 Challenges of 5G, and the 9 Pillars of Assurance Strategy

By: Special Guest    9/17/2018

To make 5G possible, everything will change. The 5G network will involve new antennas and chipsets, new architectures, new KPIs, new vendors, cloud di…

Read More

Putting the Flow into Workflow, Paessler and Briefery Help Businesses Operate Better

By: Cynthia S. Artin    9/14/2018

The digital transformation of business is generating a lot of value, through more automation, more intelligence, and ultimately more efficiency.

Read More

From Mainframe to Open Frameworks, Linux Foundation Fuels Up with Rocket Software

By: Special Guest    9/6/2018

Last week, at the Open Source Summit, hosted by The Linux Foundation, the Open Mainframe Project gave birth to Zowe, introduced a new open source soft…

Read More

Unified Office Takes a Trip to the Dentist Office

By: Cynthia S. Artin    9/6/2018

Not many of us love going to see the dentist, and one company working across unified voice, productivity and even IoT systems is out to make the exper…

Read More

AIOps Outfit Moogsoft Launches Observe

By: Paula Bernier    8/30/2018

Moogsoft Observe advances the capabilities of AIOps to help IT teams better manage their services and applications in the face of a massive proliferat…

Read More