Student Creates Electromagnetic Harvester That Gathers Free Electricity From Thin Air

A German student has built an electromagnetic harvester that recharges an AA battery by soaking up ambient, environmental radiation. These harvesters can gather free electricity from just about anything, including overhead power lines, coffee machines, refrigerators, or even the emissions from your WiFi router or smartphone.

This might sound a bit like hocus-pocus pseudoscience, but the underlying science is actually surprisingly sound. We are, after all, just talking about wireless power transfer — just like the smartphones that are starting to ship with wireless charging tech, and the accompanying charging pads.


Dennis Siegel, of the University of Arts Bremen, does away with the charging pad, but the underlying tech is fundamentally the same. We don’t have the exact details — either because he doesn't know (he may have worked with an electrical engineer), or because he wants to patent the idea first — but his basic description of “coils and high frequency diodes” tallies with how wireless power transfer works.

German student creates electromagnetic harvester that gathers free electricity from thin air - EM-Harvester-WasserkocherIn essence, every electrical device gives off electromagnetic radiation — and if that radiation passes across a coil of wire, an electrical current is produced. Siegel says he has produced two versions of the harvester: One for very low frequencies, such as the 50/60Hz signals from mains power — and another for megahertz (radio, GSM) and gigahertz (Bluetooth/WiFi) radiation.

The efficiency of wireless charging, however, strongly depends on the range and orientation of the transmitter, and how well the coil is tuned to the transmitter’s frequency. In Siegel’s case, “depending on the strength of the electromagnetic field,” his electromagnetic harvester can recharge one AA battery per day. He doesn’t specify, but presumably one-AA-per-day is when he’s sitting next to a huge power substation. It makes you wonder how long it would take to charge an AA battery via your coffee machine, or by leeching from your friend’s mobile phone call.

As a concept, though, Siegel’s electromagnetic harvester is very interesting. On its own, a single harvester might not be all that interesting — but what if you stuck a bunch of them, magnetically, to various devices all around your house? Or, perhaps more importantly, why not use these harvesters to power tiny devices that don’t require a lot of energy? Sensors, hearing aids (cochlear implants), smart devices around your home — they could all be powered by harvesting small amounts of energy from the environment.

One question does remain, though: How much ambient, wasted electromagnetic radiation is actually available? There are urban legends about people who install coils of wire in their garage, and then suck up large amounts of power from nearby power substations or radio transmitters. Would the power/radio company notice? Would it degrade the service for other people? Is this a likely plot for Die Hard 6: A better day to die hard?

Source: Extreme Tech

Related:
Student Creates Electromagnetic Harvester That Gathers Free Electricity From Thin Air Student Creates Electromagnetic Harvester That Gathers Free Electricity From Thin Air Reviewed by Truth Seeker on 12:06 PM Rating: 5

16 comments

  1. Tesla forever !

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  2. Unless it's coming from atmospheric potential, the magnetosphere, or some other naturally-occuring source, the device is not harvesting "wasted" energy. It's just leeching energy from the source - so if you harvest off your GHz-range phone, you'll be draining its battery faster. Apparently, farmers used to bury large coils under power lines that ran acorss their fields and leech power off the mains. The power companies eventually noticed and put a stop to the practice.

    So, this device only makes sense if you're being parasitic off of someone else's power. Harvesting from your coffee machine, for example, will just increase the load on your mains and you'll still be paying for it.

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    1. They all ready did. Put a stop to it.This is old technology patents on these kinds of devices have been. Around almost a hundred years.

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    2. Also there is plenty of electricity in the air that can be harvested. With out stealing it from your neighbor.This technology is old and would be free to anyone. And that's why the power companies hold the patents to these devices look it up you will be amazed at the technology that is out there that you will never see in this lifetime while there is a profit to be made.

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  3. Due to fashion, hearing aid design brings you closer to nature by turning your hearing aid into a colorful hummingbird. Maybe more for the eccentrics out there.
    Reference: http://www.hiddenhearing.ie/

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  4. Magnets = free energy...........that is all

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  5. hmm..question.. anyone researching these new electric 'smart' meters? They contain a radio antenae and who knows what else. The power company tells me they are mandatory, even tho we are the ONLY ones that have one in our area. Something about them are not right, as we have replaced elements right and left that are melting in place (our house is almost new so don't say it's our wiring). I've read all I can find about the technology but why they would pulse huge hot bursts onto your lines and into your house amazes me. Ours pulses EVERY FOUR SECONDS and there is no meter that can truly read the output, but it goes beyond what any of them can measure. The radiation from this is making people ill in numerous countries and more, I was never sick in my life until this thing was put on my property without knowledge or consent. Would appreciate any imput from Tudor, Josh or Andrew, as you seem intelligent enough to reply :) Check them out.

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    1. Check into removal I had mine removed and the old one put back. You should have a choice but if you don't ask ...they aren't going to tell you.

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  6. That's quite interesting stuff, I would like to buy one for myself.

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  7. There were quite a few posts here that were actually good. Then there were those who sounded smart but made themselves look like dummies because they can't spell !! How can you profess to be that smart and not be able to spell correctly?!?!

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  8. Many insightful comments. And, as usual, plenty of damaged people dissing each other and shutting down the flow of ideas.

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  9. a few points. the article was quite interesting, and the comments too. some people made fools of themselves, which was dealt with... a number of times (why wouldn't people read the comments before correcting someone else' obvious mistake - that 25 people have already corrected)!?

    lastly... i made this mistake once before, and when i was called up on it, i've never done it again... people stating that a persons comment is invalid because of spelling or grammar issues should consider the fact that english may not be their first language. I can almost guarantee that their english is better than your arabic / somalian / greek / russian / czech etc...

    realize is only spelt like that in america - everywhere else it's realise.

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  10. He's just using induction to steal power from the grid. It's not new, it requires a power grid to work, and it's illegal.

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    1. You are not correct. This is real technology that has been around since jesus.........studied a hundred years ago patent and bought by power companies to. Maintain control of the money that is to be made.....look it up old technology

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