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Perpetual Motion Machine? Nah. Just a Cool Optical Illusion Courtesy of M.C. Escher

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Written by Paul Strauss | February 15, 2011

This machine is claimed to be yet another one of those fabled “perpetual motion machines” that makes its way onto the Interweb every once in a while.


In the video clip below, it looks like the guy pours liquid into the bottom of his machine, and moments later, the fluid is climbing to the top of the machine, pouring back onto a paddlewheel at the bottom, then flowing back uphill, the cycle repeating in perpetuity.

So is this a true perpetual motion machine? Have the laws of physics finally been defied? I think not. Watch again carefully, and you can see from the shadows the whole rig is some sort of Escher-like illusion, where the bottom isn’t really the bottom and the top isn’t really the top, and a bit of camera-trickery fools our puny brains. My head hurts just thinking about how it works, but from what I can tell, it’s just gravity doing all the work.

[via BuzzFeed and Gawker TV]