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Looks like some kind of electric motor to me. Or a dynamo.
Read/Write head for magnetic tapes?
Is it gyroscopic in some way?
Does it kick in at 88 mph?
You thinking it's a supercharger?
It is related to cars, looks as if it could be mounted under the hood?
Does it have any medical applications?
I second the magnetic tape idea. Doesn't look a million miles away from a VCR head.
I think it is built too sturdily for a magnetic head thingy. That looks like some serious bit of stainless steel ... but maybe its aluminum? I was wondering if it had either medical or marine applications? Like a marine compass mount maybe?
I notice the flage has a key cut into it.. does something mount on there or is the gizmo a stand alone type item?
An electro magnetic device of some sort? Is it a partical accelerator?
Come on then ... give us a clue!
Clues coming up...
[edited by: john_k at 2:41 pm (utc) on Jan. 2, 2006]
OK. I'm back but it seems I am the only one playing! Does it read/measure depth or distance? Magnetic resonance imaging ... that sort of thing? Is it used by the military?
It doesn't measure depth or distance, but what it measures, it measures at a great distance. It doesn't do magnetic resonance imaging, although once again, that answer is getting warmer. The military doesn't use it - but they eventually use everything, right?
Your previous guess of "Does it read electromagnetic density" is very close.
A gravity sensor?
The gizmo is the prototype Advanced LIGO device. It measures gravitational waves from distant sources.
Here are some links to more information about the gizmo:
Overview of the Advanced LIGO device
Directory with image files of the device
Directory with schematics and technical description document