It would be useful (and fun!) if you could add a part that directs marbles upward. Maybe like a spring or a steel bounce pad? They could make information transfer much easier than building long gear trains.
That would be great, but not very physically practical - without some external source of energy, you can’t project a ball up higher than where it dropped from, and you can’t even get close to that in practice because all the pieces are about keeping the energy of the balls limited so they don’t run away…
Then why can’t there be some external source of power?
Not impossible, but much harder to automate, and would require a power source…
It maybe can be done, although it would be tricky and limited in use. A lever, where force from one ball can lift another. And where you center the lever would determine how many balls on one side would lift one ball on the other side.
Just make a “special” bit. It would act as a regular bit, flipping each time, and would have ramps at the ends to catch the exerted marble. Chains of these would allow horizontal movement, which is very useful is some situations.
Can’t we use a coiled spring or something for one-time use?