Bacon and eggs grilled in air




Perhaps that was Cantu’s inspiration:

"This guy comes in with these little glasses, he looks like an accountant," laughs De Vito, "and started talking about levitating food. I walked away saying, 'Wow, that's a lot to take in.' "


Wait a minute. Alternating current wouldn’t produce lift, although it could turn the plate into a motor. Also, even with DC, wouldn’t the plate have to be superconducting?


Film of this levitating plate, or one like it, is on the endless loop of vintage films played in Disneyland’s 1950s style drive-in theater restaurant (in Hollywood Studios part of the park). Shows people cooking eggs on it and eating them off it.


The thing works by inducing current into the conductive plate, which in turn makes its own magnetic field, which, if opposed to the inducing field, repulses the plate. Seems legit to me.

Some people make “washer launchers” that use pulsed EM field to repel (and launch into the air) an aluminium plate.

Superconductor levitation is a different principle, and works with static fields.


Hmph. If God had meant eggs to fly, He would have given them wings.


For even more perplexification, quantemplate the fact that the aluminum plate is nonmagnetic*.


(The search term you need, BTW, is “Eddy Current Levitation.”)

  • Paramagnetic, actually, if you want to be precise. But the effects of paramagnetism are so weak that such materials are usually called “non-magnetic.” Nothing is truly non-magnetic, i.e. completely unaffected by a magnetic field.


Just the kind of marginally stable surface I want to associate with hot grease and food.


When working with hot grease, I always wear lab goggles, and sometimes gloves (the thing tends to spatter in contact with moisture-containing materials, which is rather unpleasant). I don’t understand why it is not normal.


You should always at least put pants on before you fry eggs. It can be very painful otherwise.


Same applies to soldering. Hot rosin is like napalm. Same for hot-melt glue. Don’t ask how I know.



Some people make “washer launchers” that use pulsed EM field to repel (and launch into the air) an aluminium plate.

My thought on seeing this was that it would be great, right up to the point where the air conditioner kicks on, Eats a bunch of amps, and then the fields get funky and a giant plate of hot food gets launched across the room.

Good to know my worst case scenario has some basis in reality.


It would actually more likely sag a bit, or sit down back on the coils. For throwing food, there are more efficient devices known as kids.


See, I imagined it drifting off to one side and then being yanked back to the middle as full power was restored, but it was just imagined,


It would likely just go down, closer to the centering coil (and the shorter distance compensating for the lower centering force).

Would not be a problem at all if the actuator coils were controlled via some sort of distance/position feedback, which may have been an issue back then but should be easy with today’s microcontrollers.


It’s nice to see a vintage Popular Science article discussed without mocking previous generations of makers. Thanks Mark.


Worth it just to find out what @shaddack wears when he cooks eggs :slight_smile:


Kids take ages to make, though. A food accellerating device can be constructed a lot faster than that. Not to mention more cheaply and with less, well, blowback, you might say. You won’t have to yell at your trebuchet to move out of the basement and get itself a goddamn job in eighteen years, I tell you what.


People freak out about “chemicals”, worry about welding, panic about a bit of mostly harmless acid. Then they go into the kitchen, and work with large amounts of scalding-hot liquids with total reckless abandon. And if they survive that, they kill themselves by falling from a chair when hanging curtains or something similarly stupid; see the statistics of domestic work casualties.

People are weird, with totally misplaced risk perceptions…