h a l f b a k e r y
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This is an idea for a kind of Rolling Ball Kinetic Sculpture,
or at least part of one.
Simply put, we have a simple switch (optical, perhaps)
which activates whenever a ball is close enough to it,
which in turn briefly energizes an electromagnet, which is
located on the track shortly after
Each sensor/electromagnet pair adds to the momentum of
the (ferromagnetic) ball passing through.
With enough of these in a row, we can give a ball enough
kinetic energy to roll all the way from the bottom of the
sculpture to the top.
Basically, it's a linear motor which doesn't require
||If the ball is rolling on metal rails, why not just put power across them and drive the ball with the lorentz force? If carefully applied, you could make your marble machine run backwards.
Someone really needs to make a ferrofluid Escher falls.
||[2 fries], it would be simpler to do with mercury and MHD
(magnetohydrodynamics), and it would be safer-than-
mercury possible with other liquid metals, such as the alloy
"galinstan". For MHD, all you need is a steady magnetic
field crossing the flume containing the liquid metal (say
from upper-left to lower-right, in terms of a cross-sectional
view of the flume) --permanent magnets should be fine.
Then pass an electric current from upper-right to lower-
left, through the liquid metal, and it will respond by
flowing along the length of the flume.
||//Someone really needs to make a ferrofluid Escher
||That's pretty cool [Vernon]. So... could Mercury be rail-gunned then?