This machine needs to be turned more times than there are atoms in the universe to complete...

Shawn Knight

Posts: 13,753   +140
Staff member

To do so, he built a machine with 100 connected gears. When you turn the gear at one end, it slowly turns the gear behind it at a rate of 1 to 10. So, for example, completing 10 full rotations on the first gear will make the second gear rotate just once. That means you’d need to rotate the first gear 100 times to get the second gear to rotate 10 times, thus rotating the third gear just once.

Again, there are 100 gears in play here. Do the math and you’ll realize that the first gear needs to make one googol rotations just to turn the last gear one complete rotation.

The machine’s builder said he was inspired to create it after turning one billion seconds old.

It’s a fascinating build although given that it is just a prototype, de Bruin doesn’t expect it to be all that durable. As such, he is fashioning another version that could run for years. I’d personally like to see him strap some sort of high-speed motor onto the contraption to really get the gears spinning at a rapid rate.

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Masthead credit: Gears by nikkytok

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ChickyBoom

Posts: 28   +25
This has to be the most meaningful thing to come along in millennia. Thank you, TechSpot, we are honored for this fine news!!!
 

PEnnn

Posts: 658   +645
OK, but here the gears spin at a certain fixed (aka slow speed). What if the first gear spins, say, at 7200 or 10,000 rpms (just to borrow the speed of some HDDs for argument's sake)?

I bet that googol number would be smaller by many zeroes!! (mini googol, maybe....;)
 

Skjorn

Posts: 644   +498
OK, but here the gears spin at a certain fixed (aka slow speed). What if the first gear spins, say, at 7200 or 10,000 rpms (just to borrow the speed of some HDDs for argument's sake)?

I bet that googol number would be smaller by many zeroes!! (mini googol, maybe....;)
It would take less time but require the same amount of rotation.
Considering there is no known limit to the universe or its atom content, I find the headline to be dubious at best.
Yeah I hate when they try to say that dumb ****.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 6,978   +5,494
I wonder if the inventor made it reversible. If so, spinning the last gear just once would make the first one spin 10^100 times.

Never mind. IMO, if that were the case, the machine would probably not survive the stress. :laughing:
 

BonzoCLS

Posts: 7   +21
I wonder if the inventor made it reversible. If so, spinning the last gear just once would make the first one spin 10^100 times.

Never mind. IMO, if that were the case, the machine would probably not survive the stress. :laughing:
This would simply make the universe explode to one googol of atoms :D
 

RebelFlag

Posts: 173   +102
Considering there is no known limit to the universe or its atom content, I find the headline to be dubious at best.
I find the fact that when I read this comment, I heard it in my head as the voice of Martin Prince from "The Simpsons" to be personally hilarious.
 

mrtraver

Posts: 502   +270
I wonder if the inventor made it reversible. If so, spinning the last gear just once would make the first one spin 10^100 times.

Never mind. IMO, if that were the case, the machine would probably not survive the stress. :laughing:

I saw a comment on Gizmodo where someone did some calculations, and by the 10th ring the teeth would be exceeding the speed of light.


Sarusa:

"Going to the other end of it, if you could somehow turn the last gear (you can’t, not enough force in the universe even if the machine didn’t explode first) so it was making one turn an hour, the tenth to last gear would be exceeding the speed of light before you even considered the other 90 gears!

Crude calculations: handwaggle 1 foot circumference / 5280 ft/mi = 0.0001894 mi/sec for the edge of the first gear. So slow, right?

Speed of light is about 186000 mi/sec, conveniently, so the first gear is going 1 billion times (1E9) slower than the speed of light. But at 10:1 increase all you need is 9 more gears (10^9, 1E9) before you’re exceeding the speed of light.

This whole thing is an exercise in complete ridiculousness - perfect art!"
 

CharmsD

Posts: 411   +255
I saw a comment on Gizmodo where someone did some calculations, and by the 10th ring the teeth would be exceeding the speed of light.


Sarusa:

"Going to the other end of it, if you could somehow turn the last gear (you can’t, not enough force in the universe even if the machine didn’t explode first) so it was making one turn an hour, the tenth to last gear would be exceeding the speed of light before you even considered the other 90 gears!

Crude calculations: handwaggle 1 foot circumference / 5280 ft/mi = 0.0001894 mi/sec for the edge of the first gear. So slow, right?

Speed of light is about 186000 mi/sec, conveniently, so the first gear is going 1 billion times (1E9) slower than the speed of light. But at 10:1 increase all you need is 9 more gears (10^9, 1E9) before you’re exceeding the speed of light.

This whole thing is an exercise in complete ridiculousness - perfect art!"

Does this mean the farther away end of billion mile long stick can't be waved from the close end? Assume that a "billion mile" stick could exist in the first place.
 

mrtraver

Posts: 502   +270
Does this mean the farther away end of billion mile long stick can't be waved from the close end? Assume that a "billion mile" stick could exist in the first place.
Yeah, similar concept - there is not enough force in the universe to wave a stick (of any length) fast enough that the far end exceeds lightspeed.
 

TsVkK

Posts: 73   +41
First gear should be spinning at 20,000rpm, as it is it's the biggest anticlimax I've seen since Terminator Dark Fate.
 

CharmsD

Posts: 411   +255
"They aren't turning it very fast that is why it will take so many turns."

What, no... a bicycle or a kids wagon would go equal distances for each WHEEL TURN (rotation) downhill as it will on level ground.


With that transmission you can move Earth with a RC toy electric motor.

That's a buttload of leverage. I don't think he built it strong enough to rotate earth, needs testing! :p