Need engineering brainstorm for a really cool motorized hat I've dreamed up

I want to make a hat for the juggling convention that is a takeoff on the propeller beanie. One of the things that there are always workshops for at the IJA convention is poi. I want to make a propeller beanie style hat that instead of a propeller, has spinning poi. I would do them on stiffer wire not string, because I don’t want them either tangling or bonking me in the face. The ideal I want would be a hat that could do a three-beat weave. There is a demo of this here so you can see how it goes.

It’s basically two things spinning in a slightly more complex figure-8. I don’t know if this is possible. I’d want it motorized.

If I absolutely can’t do it, I’ll just have flag poi spinning around propeller style. Ideally I want to make miniature beanbag-with-tails poi such as the ones in this kind of crappy video.

Anyway, does anyone have any brilliant ideas for how I could acomplish my mission?

I think your best bet to get the same movement would be to have a track of some kind. The movement isn’t an 8 really. It’s a constant spin with two loops on one side and one on the other, all moving forward at the top of the loop.

What you want is for there to be a central sphere with two poi at 180 degrees to one another, and two tracks that each poi went into, and as the tracks turn, it turns the sphere and makes the poi spin…

I’d have to model it in 3D to even see if it’s possible. It’s too complex for me to be able to visualise all the parts and their movements just in my head.

Here’s my best sketch of what I believe is the path of one hand (as viewed from the front.) The other does the same in reverse, keeping the direction that the poi are facing roughly 180 from one another…

You had me baffled there until I looked at the video.

The only “poi” I’d ever heard of was a Hawaiian food which is sort of a gooey tofu-like substance made from beaten tubers.

Then you said figure 8 and I started imagining a miniature taffy pulling machine on your head with the gooey poi & …

It was quite an image, and would doubtless have been a hell of a conversation peice at the juggler’s convention.


If you’re really trying to duplicate the entire look, you’ll need somethign which corresponds to teh hands. Just focussing on them, they each make a ~360 degree circle then reverse direction. The right one reverses at the left edge of its sircle, while the left one reverses at the right edge.

That’s already a complex motion to homebrew up, and we haven’t even added the wrist action or the poi holders.

Yeah it’s not a figure 8 exactly which is why I said “more complex figure 8”. It’s probably going to be too hard to do the weave pattern. I would be better off doing either just a helicopter spin with a poi (with flags) on each end and a semi-stiff wire instead of the actual helicopter blades, or do a vertical circle on each side, offset so that basically it would look like the wire continued from one to the other in a straight line (like in this video). I think both of those would be fairly simple…