Chicken-powered Pendulum

Every once in a while we get sent a link that’s so cute that we just have to post it. For instance: this video from [Ludic Science]. It’s a wind-up chicken toy that kicks a pendulum back and forth. No more, no less.

But before you start screaming “NOT A HACK!” in the comments below, think for a second about what’s going on here. The bird has a spring inside, and a toothed wheel that is jammed and released by the movement of the bird’s foot (an escapement mechanism). This makes the whole apparatus very similar to a real pendulum clock.

Heck, the chick toy itself is pretty cool. It’s nose-heavy, so that under normal conditions it would tip forward. But when it’s wound up, tipping forward triggers the escapement and makes it hop, tipping it backward in the process and resetting the trigger. The top-heavy chicken is an inverted pendulum!

And have a look, if you will indulge, at the very nice low-tech way he creates the pivot: a bent piece of wire, run through a short aluminum tube, held in place by a couple of beads. Surely other pivots are lower-friction, but the advantage of using a rod and sleeve like this is that the pendulum motion is constrained to a plane so that it never misses the chicken’s feet.

Our only regret is that he misses (by that much) the obvious reference to a “naked chick” at the end of the video.

17 thoughts on “Chicken-powered Pendulum

  1. Of course this is a hack. I mean a mechanical chicken was never meant to power a pendulum. I think hack a day should start a whole series of articles based off this post. Called stupid hacks that are technically considered hacks, based on the most asinine literal interpretation of the word hack. I mean scraping diarrhea off the side of a toilet bowl with a tooth brush is a hack since tooth brushes aren’t meant to scrape feces. If a chicken powered pendulum can make it on hack a day’s homepage, then the feces scraping tooth brush should be there.

    1. it is not necessarily that a toothbrush is made for brushing teeth, but it is a tooth sized brush most commonly used for brushing teeth. such a brush can be repurposed to something other than brushing teeth after its done doing what it was sold for.

      yes it would be nice to see more simple mechanical hacks.

  2. if you get mad over something posted to garner an innocent chuckle, you seriously need to re-evaluate your priorities. and yes it’s a hack – Ludic saw the hopping chicken, determined it could be repurposed – and it’s a really delightfully pointless one too, though it would be neat to see if there are any practical uses. cheap mechanical clock escapement? Rube Goldberg contraption?

  3. I look at that and want to add one to my desk, to sit next to my ‘useless box’ I got from my brother. That, or figure out how to combine the two together….

    Oh, and I’m sorry but some of these jokes about the chicken are just fowl…..

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