There are many things about contemporary existence that are deeply wrenching, contradictory and challenging, but enjoying playing with a bobblehead, whether virtual or actual, is not one of them. Today’s Google Doodle celebrates the ubiquitous dachshund bobblehead, an iconic toy that was actually first originated in Germany in the 1970s. Affectionately referred to as “Wackeldackel” or “wobbling dachshund” in English, the tiny toys were particularly well-suited to Germany’s twisty and bumpy roads; they would bounce around and weave every time a car made a slight turn. Then, in the late 1990s the dachshund bobbleheads popped up again in an advertisement and were an instant smash hit, moving 500,000 units in only eight months.
The bobblehead Google Doodle is particularly fun due to the fact that it’s interactive: the more you click on the dachshund, the more it bobbles, and the little dog smiles at you as a reward. “As an engineer, what interested me most was the physics involved in the bobblehead,” David Lu, the lead engineer who made the Doodle, told Google. “Not only is the wackeldackel a celebration of an iconic German dog breed, it is also an example of German tinkery. I spent hours debating the implementation of the bobble; whether it should be a spring, a pendulum, or a simple sine wave. It was worth it to relearn Grade 10 physics just for this Doodle.”