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Perpetual Motion Machines

As a patent attorney, I have always wanted a perpetual motion machine. Oh, I realize they do not exist, but the failed attempts are rife with both intricacy and artistry. Given my line of work, I see perpetual machines as art, rather than inventions.

An inventor in Southwest England claims to have invented a very artistic perpetual motion machine called the “The Alpha Omega Galaxy Freefall Generator.” The article is unsurprisingly sparse on details, but from what I can gather, the invention incorporates all the perpetual motion machine staples: rubber bands, magnets, flywheels, a fanatically devoted inventor and, most importantly, an external electric motor. Unfortunately, the UK Intellectual Property Office is not quite so keen on The Alpha Omega Galaxy Freefall Generator as is its inventor. Here is a little taste of the machine in action:

The UK Intellectual Property Office is in good company. The vast majority of physicists hold that perpetual machines cannot exist, as they violate the second law of thermodynamics. As you might imagine, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has a similar policy of rejecting patent applications covering perpetual motion machines. As with any governmental organization of its size however, the USPTO seems to have allowed a few patents on perpetual motion machines to slip through the cracks:

The Haisch Quantum vacuum energy extraction system
The McQueen Internal energy generating power source
The Flynn Method for controlling the path of magnetic flux from a permanent magnet
The Gates Spring driven apparatus

While there are many devices such as dunking birds and clocks that appear to run on perpetual motion, upon closer inspection, each of these devices requires some type of outside power, such as atmospheric changes or sufficient ambient heat to evaporate water.

Despite both the UK Intellectual Property Office and the USPTO remaining steadfast in their refusal to grant patents on perpetual motion machines, if you do invent one let me know. Ethics and a slavish adherence to common decency prevent me from taking your money but, depending upon the complexity and aesthetics of your device, I might just be convinced to blow my entire annual art budget on the right machine.

Brett Trout

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