Last week, Thane Heins of Ottawa took his perpetual motion device (the Perepiteia) to Boston to show it to Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Markus Zahn at MIT's Laboratory for Electromagentic and Electonic Systems.
Zahn says the device's performance was "unexpected and new."
It's now Jan. 28 – D Day. Heins has modified his test so the effects observed are difficult to deny. He holds a permanent magnet a few centimetres away from the driveshaft of an electric motor, and the magnetic field it creates causes the motor to accelerate. It went well.Link | Videos of the Perepitea
Contacted by phone a few hours after the test, Zahn is genuinely stumped -- and surprised. He said the magnet shouldn't cause acceleration. "It's an unusual phenomena I wouldn't have predicted in advance. But I saw it. It's real. Now I'm just trying to figure it out."
There's no talk of perpetual motion. No whisper of broken scientific laws or free energy. Zahn would never go there -– at least not yet. But he does see the potential for making electric motors more efficient, and this itself is no small feat.
"To my mind this is unexpected and new, and it's worth exploring all the possible advantages once you're convinced it's a real effect," he added. "There are an infinite number of induction machines in people's homes and everywhere around the world. If you could make them more efficient, cumulatively, it could make a big difference."
Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder. His new book is Maker Dad: Lunch Box Guitars, Antigravity Jars, and 22 Other Incredibly Cool Father-Daughter DIY Projects