Gomboc - The World's Only Self-Righting Object

By: on November 10, 2013

The geometric Gomboc's shape supposedly mimics that of a radiated tortoise shell, and its movement that of the animal's when it rights itself without the use of its limbs. Now if that's the case, my question is: why would I pay $499.95 to see a Gomboc in action when I could pay $4.95 for a box turtle at PetCo and see the same thing?

I guess because the Gomboc is made of solid stainless steel. And because it is a lot less likely to laden me with the guilt of having killed it. Come on now, if you have to go, death by bacon overdose isn't such a bad way to say farewell, is it?

Hammacher Schlemmer's Gomboc is the world's only homogenous, convex, self-righting object. While other self-righting doohickeys exist--sippy cups, punching bags, Rocky Balboa--they rely on weighted bases and strength of character lift them back up. The Gomboc achieves eternal upright stature by way of its curvilinear, entirely convex surface, which pushes towards equilibrium from any starting position.

Other Gomboc fun facts: the roly-poly right side up toy is mathematically impossible to replicate in two dimensions, and is the only known nondegenerate object to possess exactly one stable and one unstable point of equilibrium. By comparison, flat objects, such as pebbles, have two stable points, and thin objects, such as pencils, have two unstable points.

The Gomboc shown here has been machined to tolerances below 10 microns, and includes a protective case to prevent dust from affecting its function. Measurements are 3.54" high x 3.93" wide x 3.14" in diameter, and weight is 6.25 pounds.