Dearborn Teens Create Antigravity Machine
By Jodi Rempala, Senior Staff Writer
Three Dearborn teenagers are among the first high school students to develop an "antigravity machine."
The Dearborn High School students have been working on the project for several months and plan to enter it in the Detroit Science Fair in May.
According to its creators, the lightweight, triangle-shaped craft defies Newtonís third law of gravity and flies without the aid of fans, jets or even an engine.
Many people have doubted that the boysí machine can fly, saying it must be magic, have strings attached or be done with smoke and mirrors.
But they say itís not so. With a combination of a power supply, a positive line and a negative line, the power transfers, lifting the machine up into the air.
During an interview with the team, The Press & Guide did not get to see the machine fly or hover. The team said they were unsure if their power supply would work on the machine and did not want to risk a crash landing.
Luke Duncan, 16, said the purpose of their project is to determine if the machine is really antigravity or if thereís something else going on.
"Our main focus is to determine whether this is antigravity or another phenomenon we donít really know about, like superconductors," Duncan said.
One theory that came up was that it was an ion wind causing the machine to rise into the air.
However, a recent experiment at Purdue University in Indiana proved that theory wrong, according to the teamís research.
Researchers at the college put a similar craft into a vacuum tube and the machine still flew. If it had been created by ion winds, it would not have flown in the vacuum tube.
The Dearborn machine works on about 60 watts of power.
In fact, once the craft is hooked up to a power supply it has to be tethered down so it doesnít fly up and crash.
There have been a few crashes in the first few runs that have broken the delicate machine, made of balsa wood and aluminum foil.
Duncan said the trio may add sections of aluminum foil to the corners of the triangle-shaped craft to help control its flight path.
Jim Bergen, 16, said the machine works similarly to a helicopter when it takes off and the reason it sometimes flips and crashes is because the energy shift is not equal.
Ethan Rein, 18, has also been working on the craft.
He said the team is in the process of making more models, including a smaller scale one to display at the spring science fair.
The team is also going to experiment with shapes. They chose the triangle because it creates a pretty strong structure.
It cost between $300-$400 to create the machine. The team hopes to power it with a 12-volt motorcycle battery.
Each of the boys has a strong support system including family, and said their parents think itís incredible what they are learning.
Bergen said if development of these machines is successful, it is theoretically possible that it could be used for a B-52 bomber.
"This technology could usher in a new era, just like the computer did. Itís cutting edge," he said.
To see the antigravity machine fly, visit www.wdhsvideo.org.
Copyright © 2010