Electronics

Electromagnetic Harvester claims to charge batteries with ambient energy

Electromagnetic Harvester clai...
The handheld Electromagnetic Harvester allegedly charges a AA battery using just the electromagnetic fields given off by gadgets, power lines, vehicles, and even living things
The handheld Electromagnetic Harvester allegedly charges a AA battery using just the electromagnetic fields given off by gadgets, power lines, vehicles, and even living things
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Using the harvester involves simply holding it up to anything with an electromagnetic field - a cell phone, a coffee maker, a commuter train, etc
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Using the harvester involves simply holding it up to anything with an electromagnetic field - a cell phone, a coffee maker, a commuter train, etc
Using the harvester involves simply holding it up to anything with an electromagnetic field - a cell phone, a coffee maker, a commuter train, etc
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Using the harvester involves simply holding it up to anything with an electromagnetic field - a cell phone, a coffee maker, a commuter train, etc
Despite viable electromagnetic fields being almost everywhere, it still takes a full day to charge a single AA battery
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Despite viable electromagnetic fields being almost everywhere, it still takes a full day to charge a single AA battery
The handheld Electromagnetic Harvester allegedly charges a AA battery using just the electromagnetic fields given off by gadgets, power lines, vehicles, and even living things
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The handheld Electromagnetic Harvester allegedly charges a AA battery using just the electromagnetic fields given off by gadgets, power lines, vehicles, and even living things
The handheld Electromagnetic Harvester allegedly charges a AA battery using just the electromagnetic fields given off by gadgets, power lines, vehicles, and even living things
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The handheld Electromagnetic Harvester allegedly charges a AA battery using just the electromagnetic fields given off by gadgets, power lines, vehicles, and even living things
Despite viable electromagnetic fields being almost everywhere, it still takes a full day to charge a single AA battery
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Despite viable electromagnetic fields being almost everywhere, it still takes a full day to charge a single AA battery
View gallery - 6 images

We're surrounded by electromagnetic fields almost everywhere these days. Just because they're almost imperceptible doesn't mean they can't be used as a source of energy though. One student in Germany recently built the Electromagnetic Harvester, a small box that allegedly charges an AA battery using just the electromagnetic fields given off by the likes of power lines, vehicles and electronic gadgets.

Dennis Siegel, a digital media student at the University of the Arts in Bremen, designed the handheld charger as a way to recover some of the energy from these electromagnetic fields. It may sound a little sketchy, but it's an idea that many researchers, including a team at Georgia Tech, have been exploring for years. The main issue with this form of energy collection is the amount of power it generates tends to be incredibly small, which might explain why it takes a full day for the Electromagnetic Harvester to charge a single AA battery.

According to Siegel, using the harvester involves simply holding it up to anything with an electromagnetic field – a cell phone, a coffee maker, a commuter train, etc. Once it enters a strong enough field, a red LED will light up to indicate it is charging. It also has a magnet on the back to leave it attached near an EMF source and can charge from the combined fields of living things, like when a person pets a dog. Seigel designed two different versions of the harvester: one for frequencies below 100Hz (like those found in electricity mains) and one for frequencies above 100Hz (like those found in Bluetooth, WLAN, and radio broadcasts).

Despite viable electromagnetic fields being almost everywhere, it still takes a full day to charge a single AA battery
Despite viable electromagnetic fields being almost everywhere, it still takes a full day to charge a single AA battery

But don't start thinking this signals the end of charging devices through ordinary wall sockets just yet. While the potential for this type of technology being used to charge very low-powered devices like wireless sensors or RFID tags is there, we remain very skeptical about any practical consumer electronics applications. Aside from not being able to generate enough power for a typical smartphone user, Siegel has yet to reveal any specifics on how his take on the ambient energy charging device works – only that it involves "coils and high frequency diodes." So while it's great in theory, we'll take these claims with a grain of salt.

Check out the video below to see some of the examples of how Siegel sees the Electromagnetic Harvester being used throughout a typical day.

Source: Dennis Siegel

Electromagnetic Harvester

View gallery - 6 images
15 comments
Bill Bennett
I live near to a BPA 500 KV powerline if I put in an inductive coil it would be called theft
thk
Someone should invent one that charges with ambient sound.
justanothertechie
These guys are a little late with their claims. An identical power harvesting patent was issued to me in 2006 and assigned to Firefly Technologies/Powercast LLC. See: US Patent number: 7027311 Great technology for smoke alarms, sensors and other low-current devices.
Nikolai Mikkelsen
Nokia has been experimenting with this technology for quite some years now.
Facebook User
I know of a guy in the US that wrapped a coil around a high power transmission line near his house. Now he's doing 5 years in prison.
Trance183
You guys are about 100 years behind. Nikola Tesla and Thomas Henry Moray were powering cars and killowatt devices during their prime years using ambient energy. Only problem was they were too ahead of their time; politics has gotten the best of mankind's energy quest. It seems this student has really done his homework on Tesla and Moray. Except his "high frequency diodes" are gonna have to be way more advanced before he gets any useful power from ambient energy sources. Hope he gets to work asap before someone else does.
ihateorange
Amuses me that the same people that rant on about free energy the Tesla Way are the same ones that rant on about mobile phone signals giving you head cancer
grtbluyonder
This must surely be the most useless invention ever. The few micro-watts it would develop, and randomly at that, are plain silly. Instead of carrying this joke, carry a spare battery/charging device, it has the same form factor. At least the latter has some substantial and real energy.
David Clarke
Surely people ought to determine how much electricity is actually available in the air, before building a device to extract it and save it. If you place a coil around a wireless is carrying AC current, a current will be generated in the coil. If you do this to your household electricity supply, then it is obviously classed as theft. Whether it is detectable is another debate.I read the other day that around 25% of electricity is stolen in places such as India, but that is probably done with direct electrical connections anyway, bypassing the meter.
Mirmillion
Ha that's funny...the power company showering family homes with cancer-causing EMF and then prosecuting the same people should they be intelligent enough to harvest a few watts of power. There should be a law...tit for tat and that sort of thing...