A team of scientists at the University of Southampton has joined forces with Nokia to harvest the power of lightning to charge mobile phones! Neil Palmer, one of the lead scientists at the University’s Tony Davies High Voltage Laboratory, worked with his fellow researchers to investigate how the amount of energy contained within a bolt of lightning could be used to charge a Nokia Lumia 925.
While it might sound like science fiction (after all, lightning has been used to resurrect monsters and send DeLoreans back in time), the scientists and Nokia believe they are on the cusp of an industry first.
“We were excited by this challenge presented to us by Nokia. Using an alternating current driven by a transformer, over 200,000 volts was sent across a 300mm gap – giving heat and light similar to that of a lightning bolt. The signal was then stepped into a second controlling transformer, allowing us to charge the phone,” Neil said.
“We were amazed to see that the Nokia circuitry somehow stabilized the noisy signal, allowing the battery to be charged. This discovery proves devices can be charged with a current that passes through the air, and is a huge step towards understanding a natural power like lightning and harnessing its energy,” he added.
Nokia was very impressed with the experiment, which higlights “the renowned high quality and durability of (their) devices and the company’s continuing research to increase the already outstanding reliability of its products.”
“This is a first for any mobile phone company to trial this kind of technology. We obviously aren’t recommending people try this experiment at home, but we are always looking to disrupt and push the boundaries of technology and find innovative ways to improve the performance of our products,” said Chris Weber, Executive Vice President for Sales & Marketing at Nokia.
“As one of the first companies to introduce wireless charging into our products, we believe that this experiment has the potential to jump-start new ideas on how we charge our phones in the future.” Here’s hoping we don’t have to wait for a lightning storm every time we want to charge our devices.