How to Debunk Perpetual Motion Machines by Looking for the Hidden Power Source

Jon Farrow of the Royal Institution teamed up with Tom Scott to demonstrate how to debunk perpetual motion machines by looking for the hidden power source using a few examples of so-called perpetual motion devices.

Although there are many YouTube videos claiming to show perpetual motion devices in action, a machine that generates more energy than it uses would violate the first law of thermodynamics.

Perpetual motion machines are tantalising. Videos of contraptions claiming to have achieved the impossible goal of endless free motion rack up millions of views on YouTube. But they’re not real. Perpetual motion machines violate the fundamental laws of our universe. In this video, we teamed up with YouTuber Tom Scott to provide three simple ways to debunk persistent claims of perpetual motion: a guide to protect you from the bunk.

Scott gave a separate demonstration of a perpetual motion apparatus built by scientist Thomas Young in a video on his own channel.