Experiments

Electromagnetic Watch Deflects A Bullet

posted: 04/11/12
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As seen in "MythBusters: James Bond Special I."
DCL

Finding: BUSTED

Explanation: Before James Bond sets out to fight drug lords in Live and Let Die, gadget guy Q arms him with a double-duty watch. The theory was that the time piece could emit an electromagnetic field strong enough to divert a bullet heading toward 007.

Although Bond never puts the high-tech trinket to that use in the movie, not-so-secret agents Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage built their own prototype to see whether Q's spy science holds up in the real world.

Wrap a copper wire around a steel core, then run an electric current through it, and you have an electromagnet. That flowing current creates the temporary electromagnetic field, which could theoretically repel an electrically conductive object- like a fast-moving steel bullet - because of opposing electron movement.

Since theirs had to fit inside a watch, the MythBusters used a pretty tiny electromagnet. To compensate for its size, they amped up the electric voltage to produce the most powerful electromagnetic field possible. But when they fired a gun repeatedly at a fake arm wearing the gadget, the bullets didn't budge from their original course. Even when they pumped up the power by using a magnet that wouldn't fit in 007's timepiece, it didn't deflect bullets in the slightest.

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