Motion System Design

Flattery will get you nowhere

It's the 87th annual alumni pancake breakfast at Ida-Ore University and Finnagle J. Wurme is on the schedule for kitchen duty. Through a series of events not entirely his fault, however, Wurme sleeps in and arrives just 15 minutes before a record 300 guests are to be served. Wurme knows he'll never be able to make enough pancakes in time to feed the hungry crowd, and in a flash of brilliance decides to combine all the batter in one giant cake. Now he must find a way to carry the 200-lb monster into the dining hall.

Wurme recruits two IOU football players from the practice field, instructing them to hold up opposite ends of a wooden pole. From the center he ties three equal lengths of rope, attaching them around the circumference of a makeshift plate. Everything is working out to plan until one of the support ropes snaps, allowing the plate to tip and the pancake to slide towards the floor. Assuming a static situation and that the two intact ropes carry the same weight, what is the tension in each?

For hints, solutions, and the winners of previous problems, visit

The winner of this month's problem receives a premium pedometer from Omron Healthcare, Bannockburn, Ill. The HJ-112 calculates the number and duration of a person's aerobic steps. For additional information on Omron healthcare products, visit, or for information on Omron electronics and industrial controls, contact Jen Pulins at (847) 285-7257.

HJ-112 FEATURES: • Calories burned and total distance calculated by walker's weight, stride distance, and number of steps • Seven-day data storage for easy progress monitoring • Accurate step measurement when attached to a belt, in a shirt pocket, or in a bag.

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