The Bean Machine Animation

Y. Daniel Liang

The bean machine, also known as a quincunx or the Galton box, is a device for statistics experiments named after English scientist Sir Francis Galton. It consists of an upright board with evenly spaced nails (or pegs) in a triangular form.

Balls are dropped from the opening of the board. Every time a ball hits a nail, it has a 50% chance of falling to the left or to the right. The piles of balls are accumulated in the slots at the bottom of the board.

The following program animates a bean machine. The program lets you set the number of slots. Click Start to start or restart the animation and click Stop to stop.