Watch 32 Ticking Metronomes Synch Up All by Themselves

More

What looks like magic is actually a super simple physics experiment in this viral video from the Ikeguchi Laboratory in Japan. Joe Hanson, a scientist and creator of the excellent It's Ok to Be Smart tumblr, explains that the key is a rolling platform:

When the arm of any metronome hits the side, it exerts a force on the blue platform. Normally friction would make that unnoticeable. But this platform is special. It's set up on rollers so that it can move from side to side. When any two metronome arms hit, their forces on the platform either cancel out or add together, depending on how out of or in sync they are. Any arms that are out of sync will experience a force in the opposite direction that inches them closer to the pack.

The phenomenon is easier to follow in another video from the lab, featuring just two metronomes on a suspended platform:

For more videos from the Ikeguchi Laboratory, visit the YouTube channel. 

Via It's Ok to Be Smart and The Kid Should See This

Jump to comments

Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg is the executive producer for video at The AtlanticMore

Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg's work in media spans documentary television, advertising, and print. As a producer in the Viewer Created Content division of Al Gore's Current TV, she acquired and produced short documentaries by independent filmmakers around the world. Post-Current, she worked as a producer and strategist at Urgent Content, developing consumer-created and branded nonfiction campaigns for clients including Cisco, Ford, and GOOD Magazine. She studied filmmaking and digital media at Harvard University, where she was co-creator and editor in chief of H BOMB Magazine.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Saving Central: One High School's Struggle After Resegregation

Meet the students and staff at Tuscaloosa’s all-black Central High School in a short documentary film by Maisie Crow. 


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Where Time Comes From

The clocks that coordinate your cellphone, GPS, and more

Video

Computer Vision Syndrome and You

Save your eyes. Take breaks.

Video

What Happens in 60 Seconds

Quantifying human activity around the world

Writers

Up
Down

Just In