The Gyro-X, 1967 gryoscopically stabilized automobile or gyro car by Gyro Trasnsport Systems with design work by Alex Tremulis
The Gyro-X Files
Consider what James Joseph says about the governments intervention in the Gyro-X project in his article for Science and Mechanics in 1967: "When I visited Gyro Transport Systems, the Gyro-X's sensors and servo systems had been removed--at the request of a U.S. Government agency--to "declassify" the car so it could be shown without revealing the secrets of a machine the government boys obviously peg as a potential military vehicle."

The Military Power of Gyros

All branches of the military have been keenly aware of the power of gyroscopes since at least the 1930s. As a Chief Petty Officer in the Royal Navy during World War Two, my father, Cyril Cobb, repaired and maintained gun turrets on battleships. When I was a boy he loved to tell me how the guns on a battleship were able to stay on target despite the rolling action of the waves. As I recall, they used gyroscopes to establish and maintain the angle of the barrels independent of the movement of the ship. I assume that modern tanks use similar technology to fire accurately while moving. Today, gyroscopes play an important role in missiles, jet fighters, helicopters, submarines, and satellites, although in two quite different ways.

WWII battle ship gun turrets used the physical action of a gyroscope, which is what the Gyro-X relied upon for stability. This can be demonstrated with any $5 toy gryroscope--it is physically difficult to turn a spinning mass away from its axis of rotation. Actually, if you have a spare computer hard drive handy you can experience the same thing -- the metal drive platters, when up to speed, are in fact a gyroscope (the effect is greater with higher rpm drives, but you probably don't want to experiment with a drive that contains anything other than disposable data). If the spinning mass is big enough, the force it can exert is tremendous, relative to any effort to deflect it. For example, the gyro in the Gyro-X, weighing 250 pounds and rotating at 6,000 rpm, was said to develop 1,300 ft/lbs of torque (for comparison, that is about 3 times as much torque as a V-12 Ferrari engine develops).

Naval guide to gyros in guidance systems...

Back to the Gyro-X page... be continued


This page updated Spring, 1999 by webloke © Copyright, 1999, S. Cobb