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So one of my old teachers from my previous school sent me a contraption to try and figure out what it was and how it worked. Pictures here.
I've played around with it for a while. I tested to see if it did something when spinning really, really quickly by attaching a motor, tried taking it apart numerous ways, and plenty of things in-between.
As far as I've gathered, here's what I think it's doing. The propeller drives a shaft that is attached to something that converts the circular motion into linear motion. At this point the glass is frosted or there's some kind of glue on the inside that makes it very hard to see clearly what's going on. The top is connected to the bottle via two pipes that end in a hole in the side of the bottle. The cap itself has a hole in the top to which the top thing is screwed to, possibly also leaving space for water to go through -- it's unclear. The purple part is sticky on one side, suggesting that the whole thing sticks to the wall or maybe to something that moves like a car.
Or maybe the propeller isn't what does the driving at all. Maybe it's filled with water and stuck to a wall or something facing downwards, and gravity would cause the water to cause the whole thing to leap to life! But, I can't find any way of filling it up -- there's no existing holes as far as I can tell. I may be able to take off the whole red cap but that's made difficult with the yellow pipes.
So I'm stuck. Does anyone have any idea about what this mysterious thing is?
The propellers have arrows on them indicating the direction they should turn. This suggests that the propeller is indeed the driver and not the drivee.