Can you spot how this "perpetual motion" machine works?


#1

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#2

#3

Don’t talk about thermodynamics club.


#4

Magnets… How do THEY work? :wink:


#5

Dammit, now I’ve lost the game!


#6

The timing of the motion is very irregular. That’s a clue. I’d guess that there’s some external (magnetic?) driver that’s being operated by the guy, since he’s so close to the gizmo.

it would be more believable if it had an oscillator driving it; at least it could run consistently.


#7

this.
 


#8

Also, the see-saw and both balls are all at one end of their travel, then it magically rocks over to the other side, in spite of the fact that the center of balance is way over to the side it’s sitting at. This means that a large external force is being applied at each end of motion.


#9


#10

Agreed - the timing is weird. Also, the suggestion that the balls smacking into the supports caused a downward push on the opposite side platform is also just not how force works. They’d be creating a torque force in the rotational direction that they struck at the point where the supports connect to the platform, such that the whole thing is LESS likely to tip back. Any oscillating system like this WANTS to come into equilibrium, and the combined effects of gravity, friction, air resistance, and even the conversion of kinetic energy into the sound of the balls clicking into things, will reduce the net energy in the system until it comes to rest.


#11

Actually, the Third Law isn’t “you cannot quit”. If anything, the Zeroth Law can be interpreted as “you must play, and you cannot quit”. The Third Law deals with the nature of absolute zero, and so addresses a possible caveat to the Second, as follows:

0th: You must play.
1st: You cannot win. The best you can do is break even.
2nd: You can’t break even. Well, maybe you can, but only if it’s really really cold.
3rd: It never gets that cold.


#12

Watch the top shirt button of the human in the background – it moves back and forth slightly. From this I conclude that the entire apparatus + camera are on a single table top which is itself rocking back and forth slightly (relative to the demonstrator who is standing on a stationary floor.)


#13

This whole thing reminds me of the “Slow Donnie” episode of Just Shoot Me.


#14

I’m guessing there are little pistons or something. Near the beginning when he picks up the bottom platform you can see there are two tiny holes drilled through the table.


#15

I’ve actually worked on a magic see-saw to drive the wobbling secondary mirror of a radio telescope, but it uses a 800W stereo amplifier to move the rocker.


#16

Bingo. This is also why he uses his hands on the table, to try and stabilize himself as he’s rocking back and forth. If you look closely, his arms/body are moving very slightly as the balls rock back and forth.


#17

The person rocking is certainly relevant, the piece is rocking against it’s mass. I’m gonna say foot pedals to monofilament on the bottom board. The fancy construction is diversion, center of gravity doesn’t care about fancy construction.


#18

“When air is hot, it rises. It’s the same reason a hot pop tart jumps out of the toaster. Or a helicopter…”


#19

I suggest it’s a “Dancing on the Ceiling” rig - the camera and the entire set, including the wall, lighting, and person, are on a tilting platform. Note how the person steadies himself against the table in an attempt to prevent relative motion.


#20

I think he’s gently blowing air with his mouth, down, as he rocks his shoulders. I used this trick to good effect in 6th grade to control rolling of a pencil on a sloped desktop.