Individual and collective behavior of vibrating motors interacting through a resonant plate



We report on experiments of many small motors—cell phone vibrators—glued to and interacting through a resonant elastic plate. We find that the motors tend to avoid frequencies that are just higher than the resonances of a plate, preferring instead frequencies just below those resonances. As a result, motors interacting through a resonant plate exhibit hysteresis in their frequency versus driving voltage. We also find that the stability of a single motor near a resonance is different from the stability of a group of motors near a resonance. When the driving voltage is constant and the transient behavior of the system has passed, we find that the average frequency of all the motors is constant.