Spiraculum

Originally designed and made by Jochen Valett in Germany in the mid to late 1970s, we believe that this toy is still made. There is also a version of it made in the US.

Everyone knows how a child on a swing is a good example of the conversion of kinetic energy (at a maximum at the bottom of the swing) to potential energy (at the top of the swing) and back again.

This shows a similar principle, but using a spinning magnet. You have to get the magnet spinning in the first place - Tim shows how to do this in the video - and then you place the Spiraculum upright. As the magnet spins round and down the spiral, it picks up speed, which then carries it back up the spiral. It eventually stops climbing, and begins to roll down again. It will repeat this several times, before the energy is dissipated. Interestingly, in one direction the magnet is in contact with the inside of the metal spiral, in the other direction it is in contact with the outside of the spiral.

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Watch the video

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