A Real Perpetual Motion Machine, in the Wild!

Somewhat coincidentally, I just came across this video of a supposed perpetual motion machine / free energy device via reddit. It’s a coincidence because my last post was all about perpetual motion and why it’s impossible. It may seem like a bit of an archaic problem to tackle, but as the popularity of this video shows, these things still pop up from time to time in real life. This one uses magnets, as most self-respecting perpetual motion con artists do these days.

My favourite part is in the video description: “This technology has been suppressed because it is a threat to the profits of the energy corporations.” Not sure how those tricky energy corporations haven’t managed to get this video taken off YouTube yet, but I suppose it’s only a matter of time.

So why doesn’t it work?

First of all, if you haven’t read the post about perpetual motion yet, you may want to do so. With that out of the way, we can state a few simple facts about this machine without even knowing anything about the actual mechanism:

1. There is simply no way this thing could spin forever. Even with the most expensive bearings and grease on the market, there is friction between any moving parts in this device, including the little rounded armature that pushes the top magnet up with each rotation. Friction represents a loss of energy, which means it will slow down.

2. There would be no way to ever extract useful energy from this device. You can tell from the first few spins that this thing barely gains enough mementum to lift its own armature as it spins. If you tried to do so much as power a small light bulb with it, you would take even more of its energy, and the thing would stop dead. Even though magents and electricity look spooky, they still cause resistance to motion in the same way that friction does.

3. This video is a hoax anyway. It’s being pushed by an air compressor from above.

Secret air compressor pushes "Perpetual Motion Device"
That's probably why the video had an exciting soundtrack: a perpetual motion machine would be much less convincing if it sounded like a vacuum cleaner.

For more skeptical commentary, check out the reddit comment thread.