World’s First Perpetual Motion Machine?

Written by Maria Gomez on . Posted in Gadgets, Science, Technology

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Can this machine operate forever?

Since at least the 12th century, man has sought to create a perpetual motion machine; a device that would continue working indefinitely without any external source of energy.

A large scientific contingent thinks such a device would violate the laws of thermodynamics, and is thus impossible.

Could it be that as a race, we don’t fully understand the laws of physics and such a device may indeed be possible? What would the ramifications be if we could actually build a perpetually moving device?


Norwegian artist and mathematician Reidar Finsrud is an outside the box thinker that has devised a machine that he believes achieves true perpetual motion. Take a look at the video below and see what you think.

The dream is that if we’re able to produce perpetual motion machines, that we’d have tapped into the holy grail of sustainability: an infinite energy source.

A device that requires no input to run that could be affixed to a generator would harvest free energy to power whatever we so pleased. This is obviously a dangerous and controversial idea due to the amount of money being made by energy companies around the world.

What are your thoughts? Do you think Finsrud has created true perpetual motion?

Source: Finsrud

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Comments (59)

  • stuart donoghue

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    a true perpetual motion generator is not far away im just building it now and when i finish the scientists can weep for the laws of thermo dynamics lmao

    Reply

    • Piquerish

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      It’s not thermo dynamics (sic), but thermodynamics. Furthermore, Tout Lasse – EVERYTHING wears out. PS – the Shift and Caps Lock keys may found on the center-left of your keyboard. Please sue your schools in general and your English teachers in particular for gross malpractice.

      Reply

  • escher7

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    Years since I studied physics, but there is no doubt a loss of energy somewhere. Friction alone is evident at the pivots, between the ball and the rails etc. I am quite certain that a competent engineer could find the secret. But still, he has attained a high degree of efficiency in an unusual device and for that deserves credit.

    Reply

    • acce245

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      I think it is that the ball goes over the bits, swinging the pendulum, and the swing of the pendulum boosts the ball a bit, as it says. Eventually the magnet will wear out, as magnets do. The difference is, if it were to hit something that it had to put force on, instead of gaining force from (magnet + pendulum, as it were), the ball would not go over the pendulum spring. We could test this easily, I think, by simply putting rods and springs against the pendulums and seeing if the ball moves just as long, as though it would be under some piezo-electric load. I wonder how using a magnet like this is seen as more efficient than, say, using a magnet more directly…

      Reply

      • JonFromSeattle

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        ‘Wear’ is a somewhat misleading term. Permanent magnets gradually decrease in strength, but this has very little to do with usage. The “life” of a permanent magnet depends on many factors. Naturally occuring forces conspire to knock the little domains out of alignment. But this is normally a very slow process. Temperature is a major player in this process. The higher the temperature, the faster this process will occur. Extreme heat [surpassing the curie point] will immediately randomize the domains. A sharp blow can also knock domains out of alignments, as can other nearby magnetic or electrical fields. Radiation can also knock domains out of alignment. But again, under normal conditions, neither your fridge or you will live long enough to watch the little fellow fall to the floor in exhaustion. At the quantum leve [e.g., electrons] magnetism is eternal.

        Reply

    • WilltheWelder

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      Im sure that with the proper background, and the right minds at work, a fixed circle of angled magnets propelling another set of magnets angled just right attatched to a shaft stabilized in a magnetic field by electrodynamic bearings could produce free energy. The shaft attatched to the inner wheel of magnets would of course at one end transfer the motion into electricity as with any generator. the differences are the magnetic bearings, i think, would remove all friction, seeing as the shaft is stabalized in a magnetic field. second all it would take would be a push if the magnets both inner and outer were angled correctly so that the inner wheel spun from the push of the outer wheel. these electro dynamic magnets could start with a “jump” and then once the generator started producing enough energy on its own it could theoretically power itself. im no genius and i have no schooling in anything other than welding. however if enough people of mathematical, engineering and physics, backgrounds were to work together, then none of us would have to pay an arm and a leg at the gas station anymore.

      Reply

      • Rudo

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        you can extract only so much energy as is stored in the magnets as potential energy. One day you run out of natural magnetic material and you’ll have to produce new ones which takes … energy. No energy is created out of nothing here. Magnets aren’t free and their supply is finite…

        Reply

  • Mike

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    The first five seconds of the video indicate that this is not a perpetual motion machine. The simple fact that the ball makes a noise on the track means that kinetic energy is being bled out of the system, eventually, and even if it takes one hundred years, that ball will stop.

    If there is any chance that free energy is attainable, it means many of the tried and tested rules of physics need to be rewritten, you can be fairly sure that any perpetual motion machine won’t involve Newtonian physics.

    Reply

  • Tom

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    The machine is fascinating, but, it’s no mystery that it is not in fact perpetual. Even a brief google search produces the information that the longest that it has continuously run is 14 days. That’s a long way from perpetual. I bet it would make a great subject for a master’s thesis in physics or engineering though.

    Reply

  • nick

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    you can see the pendulums at the bottom the machine harnesses the earth’s movement once given initial energy.

    Reply

    • BPM

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      Even if that were true, and it was powered by the earth’s movement, it still would not be a perpetual motion machine – for that very reason. It is being powered externally.

      I have read about a grandfather style clock that is powered by changes in air pressure, and will run indefinitely, but it too is NOT perpetual motion.

      To be a true perpetual motion machine, it must produce more power than is put in. Period.

      Reply

  • einacio

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    well, you can actually heard near the end of the video that it has maybe a 90% efficiency and it is thus not a perpetual motion machine, since it would need a 100% efficiency to qualify as one….

    Reply

    • Riaan Havenga

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      Yes this is just basically a highly efficient machine, with extremely little losses. If running in a vacuum it will probably run for 16 days.

      One has to realize that a perpetual motion machine is just a machine with no loses. This is not something which can produce work, that is something completely different. The moment you start extracting work/energy from a system like this, you don’t just need a zero loss machine, but need an energy source in the system.

      Reply

  • Mike

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    Nice toy but it can’t produce any power-just a toy

    Reply

  • Fileci

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    we need perpetual motion that can be used to harness power. anyone who knows about mathematics will tell you output cannot exceed input. in this case they may be equal (or very close) but it is of no use for generating power. anything added to the machine to generate power will take away from its output towards forward motion, eventually stopping it entirely.

    Reply

  • cp

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    sure this may go on its own forever without anything hooked up to it but the moment you put on a generator or something, the resistive force would slow it down to a stop.

    Reply

  • Sarah

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    What about if this could be created on a much bigger scale? Perhaps it’d then be easier to affix a generator and harvest some free energy?

    Reply

  • Rob

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    The key is in the magnets. The magnets create ongoing potential energy without requiring any kinetic energy to resupply the potential. I don’t know enough about magnets, but I would assume that eventually they would become weak. Replacement magnets might be needed, rendering the machine just short of “perpetual”, but it would be close enough to get the job done as far as free energy goes!

    Reply

    • Chris

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      Except of course that you would need energy to create the magnets.

      Reply

  • Drifter Smith

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    It’s not just a “large scientific contingent” – it’s all scientists. This is the equivalent to saying some “scientists” doubt the theory of evolution – absolute nonsense!

    Sure, there are many scientists that understand that there is a lot we still don’t know about evolution. But the laws of thermodynamics is another matter altogether…

    Nor is the “holy grail of sustainability: an infinite energy source.”

    Any form of energy will eventually degrade into heat (as in “global warming” in case you wonder why we should care.)

    An infinite energy source would be an infinite problem…not any kind of solution. (note: their are some mathematicians that wonder about that term “infinite,” although almost all accept that it is meaningful)

    Reply

  • thor

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    i read once that if you have an object that is cooled to absolute 0 and you set it in motion, there would be perpetual motion because the object was already in its lowest energy state and therefor couldn’t lose anymore energy due to friction or whatever other type of energy loss could happen. the mathematics were being worked on and figured out at the time of my reading. I do however doubt this could actually happen in RL though because of the difficulties that come with cooling something to the degree.

    Reply

    • exceptor

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      Once you set it in motion, that is imparting energy. That energy could indeed then be lost due to friction. I doubt there are any mathematics to be worked on since the core concept is flawed.

      Reply

    • Ron

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      Any object reduced to absolute zero would cease to exist. 0º Kelvin is imposible to attain, at zero all movement (vibration) stops and matter ceases to exist.

      Reply

  • me

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    In all of those discussions about perpetuum mobiles, gravity seems to not be taken into account… it’s so simple, yet nobody thinks about this tiny little fact, which renders the “perpetuum mobile” to a “faupax mobile”.

    Reply

  • Questionar

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    We have many ways to produce power today. I guess we need more ways to store energy and to release it when we want to. This device is a beautiful way to store energy for a long time. I love it. It would be nice to see a big version of this kind of device in a modern power plant to store energy some day (even just as a toy for tourists).

    Reply

  • nate

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    I don’t think using this as a model to transfer energy to something useful would work because the resistance would imbalance the output

    Reply

  • Patrick

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    That center column is packed with batteries! ;-)

    Reply

  • jhune

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    this machine probably reached its equilibrium, the total balance of motion within a system, attach a device to create electricity or use it for power source, it will break the equilibrium and stops the machine from running . There is perpetual motion on the large ball, but there is total balance in the mechanism that will take several years more to study and use to harness power fromit..

    Reply

  • John Silah

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    “FIRST PERPETUAL MOTION” ? The nonexistence of it is only true in the Newtonian physics which is invalidated by the quantum physics and theory of relativity.
    I can give you an example of perpetual motion very easy : an electron going around the atom or the moon around earth.

    Reply

    • BPM

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      The moon will not go around the earth forever. It is slowly moving farther from the earth – by about 4 centimeters per year. By the time the sun dies it’s orbit will be about 40% larger. This too is not stable forever.

      Reply

    • BPM

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      The electron point was interesting. Here’s a few highlights of what I found:

      [Electrons] are constantly receiving energy from outside sources, collisions with other atoms, heat etc…which keeps them going therefore they do not break any of the laws of thermodynamics.

      It would only violate thermodynamics if you could extract energy from the electron motion without reducing its orbital energy. Electrons are for other reasons only allowed to exist in certain predefined energy levels. At the lowest level (ground state), no energy may be recovered from them. The remain in perpetual motion and thermodynamics is still preserved.

      … electrons are not little point particles. The picture of an electron orbiting a nucleus like the moon orbiting the earth is wrong. Electrons more closely resemble fuzzy smears of charge surrounding a nucleus.

      In any case, as already mentioned, this has nothing to do with perpetual motion or thermodynamics. Something can be in motion forever, it just can’t do any work.

      Reply

  • D.Hill

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    I think if he achieved 90% efficiency that could be some how integrated into some form of energy to be an assist. It seems to me that on a larger scale it could generate usable power, so even if it required maintenance every 14 days, wouldn’t the energy up until then be free?

    Reply

    • Blake

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      Free, in the same sense that money loaned to you by a bank is “free”. It’s free if you never repay it. In physics, since you have no credit score, you can’t fool the system into coughing up more energy than you put in even once. ;)

      Maintenance is the wrong word. If this “maintenance” involves a technician giving the machine a good shove every 14 days, then what we have is a human-technician-powered source of energy with a elegant, artistic, impressively efficient mechanical battery.

      Reply

  • bob sage

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    One really needs to first ascertain whether there is a hidden power source. The central column could contain batteries, for all we know. Why is the device locked in a vault? Perhaps to ensure no one ever inspects it.

    Maybe it really is a very efficient machine. Maybe it is an artful hoax.

    There is no way to know from watching this video.

    And scientists are famously easy to fool. Let’s have the Amazing Randy take a look.

    Still, it is a magnificent work of art.

    Reply

  • ronaldo

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    It’s very nicely made but the machine is not a perpetual motion machine. It doesn’t even run for two weeks.

    What is the claim here? It is slowly losing energy due to friction and noise and so eventually stops. There is nothing new here.

    Reply

  • Jasper

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    why do we need a machine that provides free energy when the earth is next to the sun, a glob of plasma undergoing nuclear fusion and will produce colossal amounts of energy for 5,000,000,000 more years?

    Reply

  • Tom

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    Does anyone even watch the video? Don’t listen to the announcer or the crazy artist who made it, listen to the university professor. He explains that yes, it is an extremely efficient machine; up to maybe 99 percent. But by definition, this is not a perpetuation motion machine then. It needs to be 100 percent. The force driving the sphere has to come from the field induced by the magnets. Although this is a seemingly perfect machine, it will not last forever. The magnets can and will eventually lose their charge, although it might take a while. Its the same concept as suspending a couple life-saver shaped magnets on a pencil like you did as a kid; its easy to think that they will be like that forever, and it is possible to build a machine based off of that. But the laws of thermodynamics cannot be ignored. If it were truly a perpetual motion machine, it would be identified as such.

    Reply

  • Colby

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    Guys, this is at most a very neat thing to scale down and put on your office desk. Personally, I’d like one that’s quiet and more efficient under vacuum (if only oil worked that way).

    Quit focusing on magnets. When talking about forever, you must realize that a day will come that every atom that composes this device will one day cease to exist. Perpetual motion is meant to be more of a trans-finite term when dealing with time. Furthermore, you can throw out the whole free energy concept with magnets – while they are very neat, these simple dipoles do not contain the type of energy you are hoping for.

    Reply

  • Gond

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    You’re all morons. It can’t be a perpetual motion machine for one reason that no one ever thinks of: All mechanical parts wear out due to friction over time, so the machine would gradually become more and more inefficient. Further, how are you going to prove that a machine has “perpetual motion” when, by definition, it would take ETERNITY to prove that it really was!

    Reply

    • BPM

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      “it would take ETERNITY to prove that it really was!”

      Or just a scientific analysis that showed it produces more energy than it consumes.

      We don’t have to wait until the sun dies to understand when it will.

      “It will take 3 HOURS to prove that this candle will ever really burn out.”

      Reply

  • Repro

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    This machine is realy cool

    Reply

  • ManuMalca

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    siempre quise construír mi propia maquina de movimiento perpetuo,alguien ah logrado que funcione?

    Reply

  • ManuMalca

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    I always wanted to build my own perpetual motion machine, someone managed to work ah?

    Reply

  • MIke

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    Listen to the video – the sound that the steel ball is giving off while rolling on the track? Energy. Surplus energy if you would believe that it is in perpetual motion.

    Reply

  • Gadget Mill

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    That machine surely took ages to make and perfect; anyone know where I could find a more in depth video regarding the machine?

    Reply

  • nope

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    hmm coriolis force… or something more simple distant magnets in under the devices that affect the count weights. My dear, a five year can see this is a fake.

    Reply

  • ashish

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    This was a incredible……
    great invention ……..

    Reply

  • Bob

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    I don’t know why people are baffled by this. The magnets are the source of the current and potential energy. For as long as the magnets hold their power, the machine keeps spinning.

    Reply

  • sunny

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    a remarkable machine ,with definitely enormous energy but to face the physics it got to stop sometime may be later rather than sooner.

    Reply

  • Kamron

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    I love all the people who don’t know anything about science chiming in here trying to sound like they’re not complete dumbfucks.

    “We dont question where the energy comes from for the clouds moving or from the wind blowing”

    If you’re that stupid, you shouldn’t be commenting. You just make yourself look like a retard.

    Reply

  • James Smith

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    Let’s put this simply. It’s a hoax. Notice how smoothly they glossed over the “hidden magnet” inn the central column? I throw the BS flag. The man is a faker.

    His sculptures were good, although rather repetitive.

    Reply

  • Sceko

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    nice machine

    Reply

  • Charlie Brown

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    No one has invented a perpetual motion machine, and all the moving parts make it less likely that this is one. It’s cute, but does not exhibit perpetual motion.

    It’s one thing to invent a perpetual motion machine; it’s quite another thing to invent one that you can get energy out of. The phrase that comes to mind is “el toro la squachi”.

    Reply

  • Google User

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    A quick search reveals that Reidar Finsrud is a con’cept’ artist / hoaxer .. his previous perpetual motion machine in 1996 turned out to be utilizing hidden electro magnets to drive the pendulums.

    Reply

  • Piquerish

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    Entropy – unless this thermodynamic inevitability is proved not inevitable, no perpetual motion machine using any form of matter can be possible. Everything wears out.

    Reply

  • Barry

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    He’s a pinball wizard……there has to be a twist!

    Reply

  • Kris

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    Perpetual motion devices are useless anyway. You need a friction coefficient of 0 for energy to not be wasted to the system allowing perpetual motion, but if a generator is hooked to it then you end up with friction and it will no longer be perpetual. If it could be perpetual with friction added then energy would be created not conserved. We could get into matter being used to create energy and stuff, but that still has an input.

    Reply

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