The difference between Thane Heins' perpetual-motion invention Perepiteia and last year's flop Steorn Orbo is that when it was demonstrated last week—to scientists at MIT, no less—it appeared to really work. The result of more than 20 years tinkering, Perepiteia defies conventional thought, apparently using magnets to accelerate a turning electrical motor, as the video shows.
The invention was refined in conjunction with engineers at the University of Ottawa, and its debut at MIT certainly raised a few eyebrows, even causing electromagnetics expert Markus Zahn to praise it cautiously:
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...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.
The caution seems sensible: if it is a real effect then it will change the world, or the laws of physics. At the very least, it may have a real role to play in improving the efficiency of electrical motors.
Heins named his invention after a Greek word meaning an action that "has the opposite effect to that intended," and that certainly applies to his life—his wife walked out on him—as well as his device. He's certainly reluctant to use the phrase "perpetual motion" himself, because of the controversy attached, and the allegation that they violate the hallowed law of conservation of energy. Mystery success or just another myth: let us know what you think in the comments. [Toronto Star]