May 2008

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« The Universe | Main | Question of the Day »



yeah, like you I like those kinds of new breakthroughts... but I can help but think... what happened?, why I havent heard of it anywhere else?... It seemed like a good idea... it really seemed to work... mmm... oh well, look at taht new idea, lets support it...

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Could you just program the robot to fight off pirates when its not fishing? Or would that go against his no human killing programming?

Bill Tkach

Like the philosopher's stone, or the holy grail, perpetual motion may just be some mythological device that we continuously dream about finding but never do find.

Saying that, I really hope it works. I hope that he thinks it works, and he's not just scamming people, because that makes it worse for anyone out there that is actually devising a means to generate more power than you put into a system. Plus it makes us Canucks look bad, eh.


Can I just say here that the boating to italy idea with fishing robots and gps drinking parties....


black spot

I don't think he's got it right, but if you take the earth revolving around the sun, which revolves around our galaxy, which revolves around the universe, there is a hell of a lot of energy being expended that could be tapped. Of course eventually it would bring the whole universal to total collapse, but that's a minor point.


If it works some oil company will buy the invention, patent it, store it away in the depths of their archives, and most likely assassinate the inventor.

John D

I'd hoped to have time to comment on this since it first appeared. Electrical engineering is my field, and the big flaw in the seemingly gee-whiz demonstration shows up immediately in Part 1.

I fought off sleep watching the rest of the videos, hoping for something that would explain it away, but no such luck. I waited for someone else to notice the glaring discrepancy and ask about it, but no one has.

So, here's a clue for anyone who still thinks the Perepiteia "generator" does something inexplicable: the question is not why the wheel spins faster when he couples flux back to the motor from the magnet wheel in Part 2 and subsequent clips. The REAL question is, why is the guy's induction motor so lame to begin with?

Look--he has to spin it to start it in Part 1. It chugs along pathetically once he does, and when he closes the switch across the coil, it gradually slows to a full stop. This is supposedly due to "back EMF."

Well, apart from the fact he uses the term incorrectly, WHY does it stop? Current induced in the shorted coil does produce hysteresis drag, but that current is in direct proportion to the speed of the magnets moving past it. As they slow down, the current pulses in the coil diminish too, and so does the drag. So, yes, the wheel should slow down, but only to some equilibrium speed where the drag of the coil just exactly equals the power of the motor, and stabilize at that speed. Why does it come to a full stop instead?

The answer is because that poor induction motor is intentionally being operated far from its normal mode. It doesn't have anything like the torque or horsepower it should have. It's feeble as a kitten. If it were wired correctly, it would start on its own, run far faster unloaded (in excess of 1700 RPM), and you wouldn't dare touch the magnet wheel by hand.

Not only does the video demonstration fail to show the creation of new energy from "somewhere," it doesn't even prove that there has been an increase in efficiency to anything like that of a normal motor! Got an exhaust fan in your attic? An air compressor in your garage? Then you should know what even a modest-sized induction motor can do!

"Oh, but I saw it rotate faster." Sure--which means nothing except that some of the severe crippling of the motor has been removed by allowing externally manipulated pulses of magnetic flux to reach its rotor. Since there is no power being taken OUT of the system anywhere (except for mechanical friction and a bit of air being pushed around), and the power into the system is not being measured either, there is no indication of energy efficiency to be inferred.

Showing laymen a wheel that increases in rotational speed when you short a coil, and thereby encouraging them to believe you have violated the conservation laws, is as cheap a trick as switching on a flashlight in front of jungle inhabitants during their first encounter with "civilization," and hinting that the sudden burst of light is proof you were sent by the gods.

Like the Wizard taking leave of Oz in his balloon, you don't even have to understand how it works yourself; you only have to hope for a crowd who knows less about it than you do, and they'll be properly dazzled. Unfortunately, the more science there is in the world, the smaller the percentage of people who do know anything about it. Even something as comparatively simple as an induction motor becomes powerful juju.

The PESWiki article linked a few days ago by terry k has been updated recently and also hints at the fatal flaw, plus a few other key points that show this "invention" does not violate conservation of energy in any way. And remember, at least some of those commentaries are from people who would LIKE to believe that output in excess of unity is possible...but even they recognize this supposed discovery ain't it.


Yes, atoms do lose energy. Electrons move from one orbit to a lower energy orbit. This phenomenon is used in multiple applications including (I believe) some new TV display technologies. Also, atoms decay. Heavier elements (such as Uranium and Plutonium) decay into lighter elements (such as lead, iron, etc) by giving off neutrons and/or protons in the process. Forgive my atomic theory if it isn't spot on the money, but I had point out that atoms are not perpetual motion machines.

Dave Oblad

Lots of folks here mentioned that any such design would be bought up or
hushed by power brokers. Didn't you just do a conspiracy Blog?

Anyway, what I got from the article was the shaft increased in speed.
Big deal, you can do that with some gears. The real question is did
the amount of work it can do increase for the same energy input?

If yes, then by how much. A small amount means an increase in efficiency.
This is still marketable and maybe worth looking into. When it can do more
work than what's being put into it.. then you've got your Perpetual Motion
Machine and a ticket to fame and fortune (or assassination).

If you really want one of those machines, here is how to do it:

An electric motor works by switching an electromagnet on and off with
specific timing against other magnets. It takes energy to charge a coil.
What is gained in physical motion (work) is taken from the electrical
power source in watts. There is always loss in the conversion so nothing
is gained except the translation of power types. I.e.: Electrical to Torque.

Nothing new so far....

Ok, a ceramic super conductor has two states. De-energized it's transparent
to magnetism, like glass. Energized, it blocks magnetic lines of force.
It doesn't absorb or conduct magnetism like iron, just blocks the lines of
force. Now.. I could be wrong here.. but I remember reading that the energy
used to activate (align) the material can be removed but the semiconductor
retains it's attributes (blocks magnetism). A bit like opening and closing
shutters to permit light to pass. Now a FET is a semi-conductor that switches
states from conductor to insulator by the mere presence of voltage (pressure).
It doesn't actually care about current flow but rather pressure states.

This make a FET transistor so efficient that a calculator can run from a very
meager power source. (I.e.: Candle power via light conversion to electricity.)
Loss does occur, due to capacitance and bias components, but a FET comes real
close to perpetual motion efficiency.

So.. can we find the same performance in a super-conductor ceramic such that
the mere presence of voltage pressure (not current flow) can change it's
magnetic properties? If so.. it's an easy task from there!

Now, if it turns out that a super conductor only shows this magnetic effect
when heavy current is flowing through it.. well then never

But another nagging memory is something about a ceramic that becomes a
super conductor simply by temperature change. No current required. Again, I'm
probably wrong.. but if true.. can temperature be made easily adjustable
around some critical point using low level current changes? I know of solid
state components that direct temperature flow using electrical current.
Apply a battery and one side gets hot and the other side gets cold.
Right now, not really very efficient.. but useful for cooling without playing
games with gas pressure devices.

Are you a betting man Scott?

I'm betting that ET has manufactured exotic matter with all kinds of cool
properties, giving those little green guys limitless free energy.

Another possible bet? We have that technology now but can't use it without
destroying the world economy.

Wait.. a car just pulled up front with a bunch of men in black.. gotta run!

Fun Blog Scott.. Keep em coming. Best from Dave :^)


Scott: One small problem with your cool boat. Aren't you vegetarian? Are you sure you want to eat fish the rest of your days?


Of course it works! The tooth fairy told me so.


"Perpetual motion" is such a cool concept, infinite energy from nothing. Just because a prime law of physics is that the energy contained in a closed system remains constant, where's the problem? I mean , the universe was created that way, big bang or "poof, let there be light". So why not?


The answer is simple: P=IE - when a coil is shorted, E=0V(nearly)The magnetic flux expands,then attempts to collapse (supported only by the low resistance of the windings). The observation that motion is generated by BEMF is incorrect. The coil is in a mol freewheeling condition, thus resistance to the motor (I.E. load) is less than that caused by a fluctuating magnetic field.


[ Global warming is caused by lack of pirates.

Posted by: Steve ]


Mind you that does mean we may be able to make free energy by the proper creation and then removal of pirates. As we remove His Noodly Appendages' prophets (pasta be upon him), we get warmer globe and as we increase the pool of His People on the earth we have a cooler earth. Effectively a carnot cycle.

All we need is a big heat exchanger....


"As far as we know, atoms never lose their energy and suddenly disappear.

Posted by: Telanis "

Until you try to take energy out of the system. It either sucks it right back in or the atom dies.

Gustaf Sjöblom


And even if it does it will not create energy, it might harvest it from something else though.


It might work. After all, the laws of physics are only descriptions of phenomena that we have seen so far. When a new phenomen occurs, you would have to change the laws.

Ah.. sweet dreams.



I love reading your blog. On your perpetual energy post, I thought you might enjoy one of my favourite books, Voodoo Science by robert Park. He is a retired physics professor who devotes his time to exposing scientific fraud. The book looks at perpetual motion machines like the one you link to along with other unlikely scientific discoveries. He discusses how scientific error can turn into fraud, and what the hallmarks of scientific fraud are.

It is one of the best books I have read in years, and I thought you may enjoy it.


If we could only find a way to harness the energy of the free-energy hoaxes, we'd get an infinite supply!


Another commenter said:

"Tiny magnetic fields are created by all atoms. As far as we know, atoms never lose their energy and suddenly disappear. So atoms (with orbiting electrons) are perpetual motion devices. There's absolutely no reason why we can't harness that on a larger scale. What remains to be seen is whether this invention actually does that."

An atom with orbiting electrons isn't doing anything. There's no energy to harness without reducing the potential energy of the atom. BTW, the electron is only in "motion" insofar as we can't predict where it will be at any precise moment. If you managed to extract any work from it then it'd most definitely "lose" the energy it had.

The linked article is just an example of really, really bad journalism. THey were playing up the free energy and perpetual motion angle without any justification whatsoever. They even framed the comments from the MIT dude in a way that was supposed to keep us wondering whether free energy had been found. In fact the only thing that was demonstrated (by appearances only, I'll note) was an increase in efficiency in an electric motor. We have yet to find out whether that efficiency is gained at the cost of a reduction in the magnetic potential energy of the parts involved.

I think it's exciting and interesting, just no reason to bandy about the "perpetual motion" bs.


I certainly hope it does *not* work, for evil implementations of same would surely mean the end of civilization or possibly, human life as we know it. The only thing that has kept us from destroying ourselves to date is the expiration date associated with the weapons and chemicals which could kill us all.

Paul Bruner

I am always tempted to believe such claims. There are enough of them around using such similar building ideas that there might be some truth to it.

Now, to make enough power to DO the things a boat needs, thats another question. I doubt these machines put out more than 10% over the power to need to keep them running, IF these things exist.


NO. Whatever he's invented, it's not a perpetual motion machine. Put very charitably, it might be a very efficient new kind of machine of some other kind, that he somehow invented without understanding how it really works. But I think it's much more likely to be a scam. The quote below is the most telling sentence in the article:

"What's preventing the engineer from grasping it right away, he says, is his education, his scientific training."

Stereotypical pseudoscience bullshit. "Just stop THINKING about it and ACCEPT what your eyes are telling you!"

Ron Hardin

I've already had some success with potato fusion.

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