Just imagine what it would be like if we could generate free energy. No need to worry about pollution, or fuel, or effort, or anything. It's no wonder so many people have tried their hands at building perpetual motion machines. And thanks to the magic of GIFs, none of them ever has to fail.

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The sad truth is that thanks to physics—specifically pesky things like friction—none of these perpetual motion attempts will ever be more than clever visual tricks. But in at least GIF form they can go on and on and on, and generate some perpetual joy.

This is one of the most common designs: the overbalanced wheel. Thanks to friction, it doesn't really work. There's a motor in there somewhere.

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Another variation on the overbalanced wheel

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The overbalanced wheel is very popular.

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Very popular.

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This perpetual water wheel is hiding a secret pump.

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This one only works if you swing the machine and the camera together.

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If only it weren't for friction.

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This beast is wildly efficient, but it stops eventually.

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