What if recharging the battery in your favorite mobile device was as easy as holding it up to the sky? No solar charger, USB port, or wall outlet required. German design student Dennis Siegel is winning awards with just such a miracle gadget–an electromagnetic harvester that captures and repurposes the electromagnetism that’s all around us.
Lights, power lines, even the gadgets in your pocket: all of these machines emits a very small amount of electromagnetism into the environment. Siegel’s device takes advantage of this wasted energy, using it to generate new electricity that could be used to charge a battery.
Since the amount of electricity floating around in the air is relatively small, Siegel’s biggest challenge has been to harvest enough of it in a relatively short amount of time. So far, the device he built takes about a day to fully charge a AA battery. But even that feat was impressive enough to earn him a 2nd place award in the HfK Bremen Hochschulpreis 2013 competition for Digitale Medien.
Siegel imagines a world where we’ll be able to “gain redundant energy from the power supply of a coffee machine, a cell phone or an overhead wire by holding the harvester directly into the electromagnetic field whose strength is indicated by a LED on the top of the harvester.”
Siegel has now added electronics to give the device the capability of capturing electromagnetism in two ranges—one below 100Hz (electrical mains, etc.) and another for capturing those above 100Hz (Blue tooth frequencies etc.), reports PhysOrg.