By Evan Ackerman
You don’t think about it much, but generally, when stuff falls over, it doesn’t get back up. Off the top of my head, I can think of two exceptions to the rule: Weebles, and turtles. Of course, Weebles (and most other self-righting objects) cheat by having a weight in the bottom. The Gomboc, “invented” last December by Gábor Domokos and Péter Várkonyi, is the first convex, homogeneous object with only one stable orientation, which means that it’ll always turn itself “up” no matter which way you set it down, without any help:
Turtles, though, seem to have had this figured out a while ago… Quite a few of them have shells shaped nearly identically to the Gomboc. As for practical uses for those of us who aren’t turtles, I honestly don’t know what this is good for. How about a cake mold, to make self-righting pineapple upside-down cake? Yeah, okay, got nothin’. It’s definitely cool, though.
If you want to order one, they’re available in a limited edition starting at about 1000 euros. Or you could just go find a turtle somewhere.