Google Doodle Honors Mobile Artist Alexander Calder

google-calders-bnirthday-doodleA new interactive Google doodle has appeared on, honoring artist Alexander Calder, who is known for inventing the mobile.

As you click and drag with your mouse, the various sections of the mobile move around. According to the official Google Blog, it’s the first doodle Google’s made that uses HTML5 Canvas, so its creators recommend that you use “a modern browser.”

We noticed the interactive animation works on Google‘s Chrome 12 browser, but not on Firefox 5.0 or Internet Explorer 9. We’re also seeing reports that the animation causes a crash in Firefox on Linux, so if that’s your browser, you might want to avoid this doodle. Note that others are reporting these browsers are able to display the animation. Best way to find out if yours works is to go to and try it.

According to 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.”

It’s a graceful work of art that the Googlers have created here, with pieces of the mobile interacting with each other and with your cursor, just the way a mobile in the physical world would work. Notice the additional, subtle detail — the mobile’s shadow on the “floor” underneath. Brilliant.

Alexander Calder, who died in 1976, would have been 113 today.

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