Most Useless Machine: Building Elevator Edition

[Niklas Roy] calls it his Perpetual Energy Wasting Machine, but we know it for what it truly is: a building-sized most useless machine. You’ll remember that a most useless machine is a bobble that uses clever design to turn itself off once you have turned it on. This does the same thing with the elevator of the WRO Art Center in Wroclaw, Poland. The one difference is that it continually turns itself on and off.

He rigged up a pulley system that travels through the stairwell of the building. Whenever the elevator door on the top floor opens it causes the call button on the bottom floor to be pressed. The same thing happens when the elevator reaches the ground floor. But he didn’t stop there. Since the device is just wasting electricity whenever the elevator moves without passengers in it, he added a meter to track the loss. It’s the guts of a printing calculator strapped to the inside of the car. Every time the doors open it adds to the total.

You can see the installation in the video clip after the jump.

41 thoughts on “Most Useless Machine: Building Elevator Edition

    1. You sir, are my hero! As a kid, we would do the same thing and press the buttons waiting for the elevator to go up and down. This is GENIUS! The wood, pulleys and ropes make it so elegant. Excellent work.

  1. Often in buildings with jewish residents the elevators are programmed so that on the sabbath it will run continuously and stop on every floor before returning to the ground floor. This is a work around for the requirement that you should do no work or cause work to be done on the sabbath.

    Mr. Roy seems to have the start of a rube goldburg version of that.

    1. One could argue that by having the requirement of making an elevator stop at every floor you are causing work to be done. While it may be indirect, you are still causing work to be done.

      1. This is why religious is retarded. However, in that case they look at is as doing work on a non sabbath day to prepare for the sabbath. It’s just like turning on the lights on friday (and leaving them on all day saturday) then turning the off on sunday.

        So they’re not allowed to flip a lightswitch (or press an elevator button), because that constitutes work. But they are allowed to flush a toilet, which, in a well system, would cause the water pressure in the holding tank to go down, which would trigger the electrical switch that turns on the well pump to fill it back up. So they’re effectively switching the well switch by flushing the toilet, but somehow that’s still allowed.

        It’s all arbitrary lines in the sand, and it’s pretty stupid.

      2. since they flush toilet, they eater think they can fool god or they know its all retarded but they have to follow retarded laws since they live in isolated retarded society which will go full retard on them if they notice radicals

  2. I’ve built stuff that i have never actually used or stuff which wasn’t *that* useful but at least teached me something while building it.

    But this… why would you want to waste your time to build this?
    This is just a WTF. And the real WTF is that this is featured on hackaday. Not a hack. Closing a door with your foot is more hackish than this.

  3. Going up. Going down. Going up. Going down. Going up. Going down. Going up. Going down. Going up. Going down. Going up. Going down.


    Windows has experienced an error and was closed down suddenly to pre|

    Wait a minute…

  4. of course the traditional “useless machine” simply reaches out and turns itself off – I used to work in a building with an old-style cargo elevator

    The elevator was controlled by a rope – it was reachable through a hole in the wall. Pull the rope down and the elevator went up, pull the rope up and it went down – grab it while the elevator was moving as you went past a floor and it would stop – at the top and bottom of the rope was an obstruction that caused the car to stop at the top/bottom floor as if you had grabbed it

    So send the car up it would stop itself, send it down it would stop – much more like the typical useless machine

  5. Stupid? Stupid like a fox! I wish he’ed decided to record the distance travelled by the elevator instead of the energy used, the useless journey of a thousand miles begins with a single push.

  6. I… can’t even fathom how he thought explicitly designing a device to waste electricity and log how much electricity it wasted was a remotely good idea.
    That’s LITERALLY the installation’s only purpose.It’s even in the friggin’ name of the … thing.

    That’s not art. It’s an active, albeit minor, assault on the electrical grid and ecosystem(provided the WRO Art Center does not derive all it’s electricty from off-grid clean sources). It goes beyond “most useless device” and into “the saddest little Terminator” territory.

    1. Complains of wasting energy, yet trolls HaD. Especially where there are OBVIOUSLY more important things to do with his precious, precious time and energy. (The irony is deafening, even on something as quiet as an electronic message board.)

      Normally to hear preaching like that – with as little depth or moral outrage – you’d have to go to a CHURCH…

      …[CaptainJistuce], you may one day make a fine politician…

      1. You, on the other hand, may one day make a fine Hooked on Phonics graduate.
        I thought it was clear my complaint was that the device’s entire purpose was to brag about wasting electricity, not that electricity was being wasted.

        Also, by sitting in my chair instead of doing something “productive”, I am actually CONSERVING energy. So HA!

  7. If we wired two of these useless machines together to switch eachother on and off, would we then have a sort of analog flip-flop?
    Dare somebody to make a computer out of such creations.

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