Adam Savage critiques a "perpetual motion" machine housed at The Royal Society

Originally published at: Adam Savage critiques a "perpetual motion" machine housed at The Royal Society | Boing Boing


I suspect it utilises the transperambulation of pseudo cosmic anti-matter, remarkable what you can achieve with that.


It’s neutrinos. They’re mutating.




Seriously? I mean, by those measures, my quartz crystal or tuning-fork wristwatches with their tiny alkaline cells are just as much “perpetual motion” machines. They’ll run continuously for more than 2 years between services.

This is truly low effort and doesn’t even deserve to be displayed at the Royal Society.


It spends most of its time in a darkened storeroom.

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If one could observe dark energy propelling a “perpetual motion machine” then it wouldn’t be ‘dark’ now would it?

(Adam Savage is a perpetual joy)


A quartz watch is vastly more impressive, even. All this device is demonstrating is a very low-friction bearings.


It says right in the wikipedia link that he built “fake perpetual motion machines”, so clearly he was having a little fun with us.


People in the know, when they eventually found out the secret they were a bit disappointed.

Adam: Then I submit that it’s a motor.

What a dumb thing, not Adam investigating but the whole secret perpetual motion nonsense.

That being said, the video is way cool and to have access to that stuff must be awesome for Adam.

Space Cowboys (2000)

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Season 6 Episode 21 GIF by The Simpsons


Absolutely. This was an exercise in “Can you figure out how I faked it?” more than “Ha! I have developed perpetual motion!”.

It’s a great comment on actual attempts at perpetual motion, because in reality that’s the question that you ask of them as well.


Yeah, this. Perpetual motion is impossible, and that’s been known for a good long while now.

So what this is, is a clever trick that people are trying to figure out. And Adam and the Royal Society both obviously approach it in that light.


The part I dont understand about the secrecy around this is that it’s not so much just “How did I fake this” as “Which of many potential faking methods did I use?” Oh but you cant inspect the mechanisms sufficiently to eliminate any of them.

Not exactly an intellectually stimulating thought experiment after a minute or two…

Now if they let people inspect it with some instrumentation, that might be an interesting challenge.


So this is a perpetual motion machine, whose workings are kept secret…

Ergo: this is not a perpetual motion machine then.

Explain how it works or show yourselves to be a fraud: Choose one.

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My elderly Aunt Bea used to keep one of these perpetual motion machines on her kitchen windowsill.


Just watched that this morning, cool.

I love Adams vids but I got about half way and bailed cos there are many parts of this machine that could house motors and batteries and not allowing anyone to touch it makes it pointless even as a curiosity.

A piece of art, or someones morning project maybe, or at stretch a demonstration of some principles or other, but pretend perpetual motion, nope!


I have one of those floating globes (and also a Tardis one but it broke :frowning: ) and if I give it a spin it will literally rotate, free floating in the EM field for weeks at a time before slowing.


They already chose one, “fraud”. It’s a challenge, not “here’s a real perpetual motion machine”

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I think, if your saying it’s a challenge to figure it out then it’s not really as mentioned may as well call a car a perpetual motion machine and say ‘prove it’ by not allowing anyone to examine it.

Apologies if that’s not what you meant