There’s no question that power is getting more expensive by the day. We use an unbelievable amount of fuel of all sorts to generate vital electricity to power our lives, and the costs of supply are rising like a hot air balloon. Which is why the new invention of an enterprising young German could spell the beginning of a new era of ‘power piracy’.
Dennis Siegel’s invention is actually not that new, it’s tied to the kind of technology that spawned the antique crystal radio set back in the 50s and also Nikola Tesla played around with it a fair amount. What makes his Electromagnetic Harvester so interesting, however, is the fact that he has designed it specifically to leach tiny amounts of power from the electromagnetic fields (EMF)we’re surrounded by, and use it to charge up AA batteries.
The really crucial point about this little box is the controversy over whether this is ‘stealing‘ or ‘harvesting of waste power‘. If they became popular and enough people did this, it could test our legal systems every bit as much as the current copyright piracy fandango. On the one side you have the ‘theft’ brigade, who say that even by grabbing tiny amounts of EMF power for your battery, you are in fact increasing the load on the original power source, while their ‘free’ opponents say that it’s electromagnetism that would otherwise be wasted in environmental dispersion anyway.
We’re not going to take sides here, other than to say we love the idea of being able to capture ambient EMF to keep a brace of AA batteries charged up, and since the process is so minuscule (we’re talking the ability to charge a single AA battery per day) we can’t see this as being anything other than garbage collection. Of course if enough people spend their time doing this, then things could get more complicated, but hey, that’s the fun of disruptive ideas, right?
For now, we’re happy to see innovative tech still being introduced (anyone remember phone freaking?) and wish the guy well with his efforts. Dennis has created two versions of his harvester; a smaller one which is suitable for frequencies below 100Hz which you could find surrounding conventional mains power in the home, and a larger one which can harvest higher frequencies such as radio, Bluetooth and WLAN power fields.
Watch out for a power pirate near you, soon!