Last week, a “self sustaining electrical turbine generator” was found on Kickstarter. Another name for the product is a perpetual motion machine. (We saw this story first on GigaOm.)
Put simply, a perpetual motion machine is a machine is an engine that can continue to move indefinitely without any external source of energy. However, by the law of physics, this would be impossible — due to friction with the surrounding air causing energy loss.
Kickstarter’s rules would appear to prevent this sort of thing: One of them requires developers be “honest” about their projects. And, honestly, this project is not going to result in a perpetual motion machine.
The current rules for Kickstarter projects are very simple; there’s only three of them:
- Projects must create something to share with others.
- Projects must be honest and clearly presented.
- Projects can’t fundraise for charity, offer financial incentives, or involve prohibited items.
Projects that involve forming new types of hardware need to abide by additional rules. They need to show a prototype, as opposed to just a rendering. Project starters are also prohibited from using photorealistic renderings.
Yet the turbine generator doesn’t break any of Kickstarter’s rules — you are not obliged to display a prototype if you are not offering the device. Backers who pledge $US250 receive a baseball hat, holiday cards and a poster — unfortunately not a self sustaining electrical turbine generator. They only receive that if the campaign reaches its $US10,000 goal.
Before June, a lot of ridiculous campaigns like this wouldn’t have made the website — each campaign proposal was reviewed by a human team at Kickstarter. But since June, things have changed: Kickstarter introduced Launch Now. It gives campaign starters the option to launch their projects whenever they are ready or, to get feedback from one of the site’s community managers before they launch it.
One of the most memorable efforts taking advantage of the new rules was “Potato Salad” — where someone infamously managed to raise over $US55,000 ($49,990 over the target) to make a potato salad. As things escalated, and more money came in than expected, the creator started setting new goals, such “calling a chef to get a better recipe” when the campaign reached $US300.
The self sustaining electrical turbine generator has currently raised only $US3. But there are 23 days left. Don’t forget to donate!