In a world where electromagnetic fields are so commonplace with the likes of electronic gadgets, power lines and vehicles continuously emitting the invisible force the fact that this energy cannot be felt does not mean that it is not possible to harvest the energy from electromagnetic fields.
That is exactly what Dennis Siegel, of the University of the Arts in Bremen has designed – an electromagnetic harvester build in a small box that can apparently charge an AA battery solely from the energy given off by electromagnetic fields.
Siegel, who studies digital media, is not the only one to have had the idea, as the concept has been under investigation for a number of years, including by a Georgia Tech team. The disadvantage with the system has always been the fact that only a small amount of energy can be generated; probably why Siegel’s Electromagnetic Harvester takes a whole day to charge one AA battery.
Siegel claims that the device works just by pointing it in the direction of an electromagnetic field, be it from a mobile phone, a commuter train or any other electromagnetic source. When the electromagnetic field is strong enough, a red LED lights up on the device showing that it is charging.
The device also comes with a magnet so that it can be stuck to an EMF source to enable it charge when the fields of living things are combined, for example, when a dog is patted.
There are also two versions of the electromagnetic harvester; one for frequencies 100 Hz or less (like in electricity mains) and the other for frequencies of more than 100 Hz (like in WLAN and Bluetooth).
That said, the apparent breakthrough may not mean that charging from wall sockets will soon be a thing of the past, although the idea may be practical for devices which use very low power, like RFID tags and wireless sensors.
Any practical uses for the average consumer may, however, not be possible also because Siegel has not really given the details to how his device works, only saying it uses “coils and high frequency diodes”, which casts further doubt on how legitimate his claim is.