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Mesmerizing Machines and What We Can Learn From Them

Have you ever sat in front of a washing machine and watched the clothes spin round and round? Or pressed your face against the glass at Krispy Kreme, eyes following the donuts on the conveyor belt? Maybe you’ve been entranced by the rides of an amusement park, like the colors changing on a Ferris wheel. Personally, I remember being struck by how Crayola crayons were made; how the wax was poured into the molds and how the paper sleeves were added once they cooled. (I’m fairly certain I ruined the VHS tape we had of that episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood due to rewatching it so much.)

Whatever the case, it’s hard to deny just how hypnotizing it can be to watch machines at work.  The repetitive and precise movements can be both stimulating and soothing. It also serves as a reminder of how so many everyday objects are made– something that TV programs like How It’s Made and Unwrapped are devoted to. But it also makes these giant, industrial machines seem less terrifying. It’s well documented how dangerous factories can be, so seeing them create these products (and in such a calming fashion) can help squash some fears.

It seems that food-producing machines are among the more mesmerizing. BuzzFeed has made a handful of lists discussing cake production in particular. Watching the icing being drizzled or dolloped on is popular, as is seeing how the batter itself is applied to the pan. Candy apples being coated, and chocolate being poured are both featured in the video above. It triggers something in our brains (and our stomachs) to capture the beauty of their creation. It may also make you look at your Hershey’s bar another way, although let’s face it, you’re still going to eat it.

Rides and attractions can also be hypnotizing. They already have a certain amount of appeal, as they are designed to entertain and excite riders. However, watching the chain lifts of a roller coaster or the spinning of a Ferris wheel can be rewarding in their own right. As previously stated, the repetitive motions and sounds can be soothing, which some may welcome amid the busyness of an amusement park. This fascination also makes the rides more intriguing, as people see them as more than just thrill machines. They’re also real machines with very deliberate planning and building behind them, ensuring a safe (and hopefully enjoyable) experience.

But perhaps the most fascinating are those machines meant for a very specific purpose. Peeling an orange isn’t exactly a daunting or even odd task, but it becomes somewhat captivating when done using mechanical hands and peelers. Testing a new marker can also be a hassle, whereas machines make it look smooth and effortless. Pasta machines have exactly one purpose, but due to the variety of shapes and sizes pasta can take, it makes the creation a feast for the eyes before they become a feast for the stomach. And, as you can see in the video below, there’s nothing more satisfying than seeing a robot solve a Rubik’s Cube in the matter of seconds.

Machines are essential parts of our lives, even if we don’t pay much mind to them. They create products we use, see, or consume every day, and they do so with precision and efficiency. Watching machines at work is a rewarding experience, not just for our senses, but also for our thoughts. What may seem ugly and intimidating is actually quite elegant. These mesmerizing machines give us a glimpse into production, manufacturing, and design, all while stimulating and soothing those who stop to watch them at work.

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