Video demonstration of the self-righting shape Gömböc

June 17, 2020


This is a video demonstrating the unique properties of a gömböc: a shape that only has two equilibrium points (one stable and one unstable) instead of the usual minimum four. What this means is that it will always right itself no matter how you set it down. I'm too dumb to understand what a stable or unstable equilibrium point is, so I'll let The Action Lab explain:

Hi everyone, some are confused about why there is only one unstable equilibrium on the Gomboc since you can set it along anywhere on the upper edge and it will tip over. An unstable equilibrium is not simply an edge where it will tip over, but it has a specific definition. The equilibrium points are where the derivative of the potential energy of the shape is zero. To see if it is an unstable or stable equilibrium, then you check to see if the second derivative is positive or negative. If the second derivative of the potential energy is negative then it is an unstable equilibrium. If the second derivative is positive it means that the equilibrium stable. Non-mathematically this means that the unstable equilibrium is the point that it theoretically could be balanced because the weight is equal all around the point, but it would fall over at the slightest wind or movement.

So basically magic. A gömböc is a magical shape. There's a penis joke to be made here, but this is a sophisticated site full of monocles and top hats. We're too busy sipping wine and tasting cheese to make any of those kinds of jokes.

Keep going for the full video.

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