Gravity Speakers

This video purports to show an amateur experiment in which someone created a small gravitational field "using a speaker and a generated sound wave." The instructions say that a Bose Companion 2 Series II speaker was used, and a "sine wave at 16 khz" was generated.

Obviously it's fake. Audio speakers will not create a gravity field. But I'm not sure how they created the special effect. (Not that I know much about creating video effects.)

Perhaps they used some kind of fancy editing software. Or perhaps they did it a really low-tech way -- moving the objects one frame at a time to make it appear as if they were sliding towards the speaker. If they did it the latter way, they managed to make the sliding effect look very smooth.

Perhaps it's a viral ad for Bose speakers.

For some reason this video keeps getting removed from Metacafe. Hopefully it'll stay up long enough for you to see it.


Posted on Wed Oct 24, 2007


Note that when the cell phone is being pulled by the "gravity," the nylon lanyard doesn't move at the same speed as the phone - it gets dragged alongside. If the phone was being pulled by "gravity," the lanyard would move along at the same speed.
Posted by Adam Stanhope  in  Kingston, Massachusetts  on  Wed Oct 24, 2007  at  09:39 PM
i'm a recording technology major at the university of memphis (with very little time right now) but my first thought was that 16khz is the resonant frequency of the table which would cause for some serious vibrations visible or not that could very easily move objects across a slightly slanted smooth surface. just my two cents. peace.
Posted by Mickey  on  Wed Oct 24, 2007  at  09:47 PM
Both the magnet/tilting sound like plausible explanations. I don't really have an opinion on how it was done.

However, it looks awefully like a viral to me. It begins with a nice shot of the brand name before the video. There is a nicely set camera angle with a shot of the hand turning on the camera before each test. It is decently lit (for a "home video"). Then, right before the end, we see an intertitle slide reminding us of the Speakers. Finally, we get an unnecessary pullback shot, enough to reaffirm it was a "home video" to the viewer. Especially in a video otherwise so well edited, it seems completely out of place.

Viral videos seem to often try to remind us that they are home videos in an attempt to make them seem legitimate. It seems to be the general concensus that this has at least some video tricks employed. It seems like a lot to go through for such little return. I mean, what other motive would someone have for making a fake video about their speakers.

I'm certainly not ruling out that it is real (in the sense that it was one unaffiliated person that made the video). However, it seems to contain a lot of the classic elements of a viral.
Posted by Archibold  on  Wed Oct 24, 2007  at  09:51 PM
wow thats awesome! i have to buy some bose speakers....
Posted by kevin  in  hell  on  Wed Oct 24, 2007  at  10:41 PM
Alex, speakers do generate a gravity field, any object with mass does. However, the mass of the speaker is so slight compared to anything else that it is swamped by the Earth's gravity field. But this trick seems done by magnets, or tilting or some compination of the two. And maybe the frequency of the sine wave is the resonent frequency of the table, which would help by vibrating the table, but I doubt it. The resonent frequency is determined by size primarily and I think the table is so large that the resonent frequency would be sub-sonic or deep into the bass frequencies. Just an idea.
Posted by Christopher Cole  in  Tucson, AZ  on  Wed Oct 24, 2007  at  10:46 PM
That's idiotic. The camera is attached to the table. The table is tilted so that the left side is higher. The chair and wall picture in the bankground are tilted too. The objects have enough frictional force to stay still until the speaker cases the tabletop to vibrate, and then the objects fall downwards to the right. Look how the cable on the back of the speaker is hanging.
Posted by martin  on  Thu Oct 25, 2007  at  12:13 AM
I vote for the tilting room effect.
Not only did I notice that the picture on the all kept moving from shot to shot, but it seemed weirdly placed - too low to be realistic, yet low enough to be in the shot to give realism to the background.
I think a magnet would make the objects jump or jerk before being moved.
Posted by rich  in  Pangea  on  Thu Oct 25, 2007  at  12:45 AM
If the speaker had actually been plugged into something, then I would have said that the table was tilted at a slight incline, say <10 degrees. When the speaker gets turned up it would cause things on the table to bounce very slightly, and "jitter" down the table.

But, no.
Posted by derWiskinator  in  San Francisco  on  Thu Oct 25, 2007  at  12:50 AM
There's some kind of tilting going on; the back wall and the table are not attached to each other! The picture's frame tilts in an arc between takes, with the center of rotation just to the right of the top corner of the chair. If you place a ruler along the bottom edge of the picture frame, you can mark where the extended lines from the different frame angles intersect (I used post-it notes so as not to mark up my monitor). That would be your center of rotation.
Posted by MrGlowbug  in  Albuquerque  on  Thu Oct 25, 2007  at  01:23 AM
I doubt it's a tilting table, unless all the lighting in the room is also tilting with the table.

Maybe the speaker is an electromagnet.
Posted by Chris  on  Thu Oct 25, 2007  at  02:59 AM
My guess, the table is slightly tilted such that the friction between the objects and the surface (just) keeps them in place. the vibrations of the speaker perturb it just enough that the object begins to slide, once it is sliding it just keeps going. The fact that the objects seem to accelerate as they slide hints that a slope it involved.
Posted by Martin  in  Cardiff, Wales  on  Thu Oct 25, 2007  at  04:35 AM
Not only does the table change angle relative to the picture frame between cuts, but the cable coming off the back of the speaker changes angle relative to the speaker.
Posted by Wesley  on  Thu Oct 25, 2007  at  05:00 AM
Vincent is right.

Let the movie load, and then scrub through fast from beginning to end. The picture on the wall behind is getting rotated round a little more each time.

Therefore, I think the whole room is a set (including fake floor), the camera and probably lights are also attached, and everything tilts, so that the items just slide downhill towards the speaker. They are always placed very carefully so that they will slide in a line and "land" on the front of the speaker. If they'd been to the side just a little, they would have fallen past the speaker, and the game would be up.
Posted by pad  in  London, England  on  Thu Oct 25, 2007  at  05:26 AM
My thought is that the speaker is working, and that the tone (clearly not 16K, though 16K is in the normal hearing range, albeit at the top) is vibrating the table via resonance of either the tone or one of its harmonics.

If you've ever seen the footage of the Tacoma-Narrows bridge heaving back and forth before crashing to the water below, then you know how powerful resonance can be. The bridge collapse was caused by the wind vibrating the bridge causing it to oscillate at one of it's natural frequencies.

As noted by FrostBird, I get a frequency of a G above middle C on a piano keyboard, right at 400hz.

If the table was leaning even a little, it would vibrate itself downward.

There is no magic, and no voodoo. And certainly has nothing to do with magnets. Sorry, but Elmer's is just not magnetic. I don't know for sure, but I wouldn't be surprised if it isn't even slightly diamagnetic (and you would need extrodinary magnets to physically test this).

For the claim that no other speaker would do this, it could be something as simple as rubber feet on the bottom of the other speakers damping the vibrations. How many speakers did he test?
Posted by royce  in  usa  on  Thu Oct 25, 2007  at  06:26 AM
I think it's magic.
Posted by Web  on  Thu Oct 25, 2007  at  07:04 AM
I think that movement is too smooth and too closely matches the acceleration of something sliding down a slope for this to be magnets.

One important note is that there is a cut immediately before the pull-away! This means that the whole setup might have been made in a smaller tiltable model, and then the pieces moved into a room to 'prove as genuine'.

Plus, as others have mentioned, the speaker is clearly not plugged in, so it's faking even at the basic level.
Posted by Rob  on  Thu Oct 25, 2007  at  07:26 AM
Definitely a tilted table thing. The things about to slide are put down carefully, because they're held there with a magnet. When the speaker is "turned on" the magnet underneath is pulled off (or switched off) so that the item can slide down the table.

Biggest giveaway for me - the cut from the end of the last experiment. You see the slide, then a title card, and then a pullaway - not in one shot. And if you look carefully at the picture at the end of the last experiment and the beginning of the pullaway, you can see that it suddenly gains a shadow - because it's not stuck firm to the wall any more.
Posted by Steve  in  Wales  on  Thu Oct 25, 2007  at  07:31 AM
At 102 seconds, take a look at the speaker wire end on the floor. It's not even plugged into anything.

Posted by hoaxfinderouter  on  Thu Oct 25, 2007  at  08:30 AM

monofilament, object placed on monofilament and pulled.

When pulled, same effect.

Notice how glue bottle slides as being put down.
Posted by JGB  on  Thu Oct 25, 2007  at  10:43 AM
A magnet under the table, dragged along and pulling the object.
Posted by Craig  on  Thu Oct 25, 2007  at  12:18 PM
Look at the left edge of the table during the pull back. Suddenly there is an electric socket there that wasn't there during all of the slides.
Posted by Brian Utterback  in  Nashua, NH  on  Thu Oct 25, 2007  at  12:46 PM
My money's on a tilting room with either some nice speaker or magnet holding the stuff before it begins to slide down embedded in the bottom left part of the table. Indicies for this theory are the picture, the wall wart appearing at the end of the vid and the other changes between *everything* and the pullback shot.
In conclusion: FUCK YOU BOSE. Fuck you for sending me annoying ads, fuck you for trying to go the "viral" way.

Nathaniel: Move your hand up and down. Does it get attracted towards the centre of whatever object's gravity you're experiencing (usually the earth)? Does this stop you from moving it up smoothly? (Answers: Yes, No, it woudln't give away the fakeness of the video)

Adam Stanhope: The weight (in this case a force towards the speaker) is a function of an object's mass (a few grams for the lanyard, tens for the phone) and the gravity it experiences. It's also being held back by friction (once again: mass (this time pointing down) and friction coefficient). On a very smooth table like this, the phone might very probably move faster than the lanyard if the speaker actually had some gravity.

Mickey: The tone's not 16 kHz. Not by far.
Posted by phlo  on  Thu Oct 25, 2007  at  05:20 PM
My vote is for some sort of reverse filming of someone sliding it backwards with fishing line and him picking it up. it just works, because it would give a good reason why the speakers aren't plugged in and the way the items react to the sound is sporadic.
Posted by Thomas Sabinowitz  in  USA  on  Thu Oct 25, 2007  at  09:07 PM
Maybe they tried to do this:
Posted by ドリーマ  on  Thu Oct 25, 2007  at  09:26 PM
It's a tilt trick. Slick and simple.

And that's nowhere near 16khz.
Posted by Anthony Peluso  on  Fri Oct 26, 2007  at  02:24 AM
If it was a true "gravity wave", then the strap on the cel phone would be attracted with the rest of the celphone, instead of dragging behind.

The motion of the objects after hitting the speaker is too smooth. I say incline instead of magnets.
Posted by Mozai  on  Fri Oct 26, 2007  at  09:54 AM
Well, I tried to duplicate this experiment and I have to report that I accidentally discovered the "brown note".

Excuse me, gotta run now...
Posted by Blondin  on  Fri Oct 26, 2007  at  01:08 PM
Camera mounted facing "scene".
"Scene" is secured firmly.
Speaker then secured to the "Scene"
"Scene" is tilted ala "Jamiroquai"
Object unsecured slides towards speaker.
Posted by BT  in  Spokane,WA  on  Sat Oct 27, 2007  at  05:11 PM
The table is being tilted. There is no magnet. If you take the slider, after the film has been loaded, and move it back and forth from start to end, you will see the picture in the background change locations repeatedly. Why would someone continually move a picture?
I was pretty sure of this, and then the camera moved out to show the table. This proved it too me. He felt he needed to prove that he wasn't doing it the way he was doing it. He did nothing to disprove other ways that it could have been done. To the person who said that the items would fall off the table...if they did, the director would simply not have included that iteration of that particular object...he would have shot another until it was right.
I'm certain that this was how it was done.
Posted by Daniel Alderman  in  Twin Falls, ID  on  Sun Oct 28, 2007  at  03:32 PM
My guess is that the table is tilted, just slightly. When the speaker is turned on, it causes the table to resonate and the objects get the little bit of movement needed to overcome the friction. If you look carefully, when he places the glue on the table, it moves just slightly when he lets it go.
Posted by smif  on  Wed Oct 31, 2007  at  04:42 AM
Comments: Page 2 of 3 pages  < 1 2 3 > 
Commenting is no longer available in this channel entry.