This is a simple demonstration that can be used to impress your friends using a variety of materials. It also can make a nice investigation for a science fair project or a classroom demonstration. Students can test variables and determine the conditions for the best results. The use of small lights and a camera can help capture the beauty in the movement of the small weight as it arrests the movement of the larger weight as it falls. Or, one other use can be for amusement purposes by turning the demonstration into a game.
One final note, the spiral path recorded in the pictures was described as an Archimedes spiral, it is actually an involute spiral. While they are very similar, there are subtile differences that can be explained and demonstrated by searching for definitions of these terms. Sorry for the mistake.