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German student wirelessly harvests free electricity

In a fascinating story that yet again proves Nikolai Tesla was way ahead of his time, Extreme Tech have reported that a German student has built an electromagnetic harvester that recharges an AA battery by absorbing environmental radiation. The harvesters can gather free electricity from simply hovering in the vicinity of something electric from power lines to a mobile phone.

The idea basically distils down to wireless power – in much the same way as a new generation of smart phones are coming out with wireless charging pads which transfer electricity without anything like as clumsy as a plug.

Dennis Siegel, of the University of Arts in Bremen is keeping quiet on the exact science (probably because he wants to secure a patent but possibly because he had engineering help while he provided the theory - but his hints of “coils and high frequency diodes” is in keeping with the current state of wireless power transfer. Every electrical device gives off electromagnetic radiation and when that radiation is harnessed across a wire coil, an electrical current is produced. Siegel says he has produced two versions of the harvester – a low frequency receiver that would tunee into mains based power and a high frequency megahertz and gigahertz receiver for radio, phone signals and wifi.

The practicality of the technology in its current state depends on the range and orientation of the transmitter, and how well the coil is tuned to the transmitter’s frequency. Siegel reckons he can charge one AA battery per day – so obviously this is all in its infancy, but the implications are remarkable and opens the door for recycling electricity.

This is certainly not ‘free electricity’. Someone somewhere is paying for what a transmitter is harvesting off – but apart from the wireless electricity theft possibilities – imagine getting 20% more use out of your normal electricity bill by wiring up harvesters to reuse wasted radiation.

Written by Cyrus Bozorgmehr - Google+ Profile - More articles by Cyrus Bozorgmehr

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