Friday, June 8, 2007

Unplugged

You know how a stage magician, having levitated a woman who's stretched out horizontally, proves that she's floating in the air, with no strings attached, by passing a metal hoop around her body, from head to toes. Well, the following researchers at MIT [Massachusetts Institute of Technology] are in fact positioned in such a way as to prove that their demonstration of magic is genuine.

On the right, a light bulb is receiving energy from a metal coil. But the coil itself is not plugged in, by a cord, to any source of electricity. The coil on the right is in fact receiving electricity from the other coil, on the left. And, not only are the two coils physically unconnected, but the researchers are placed in such a way that some of them block the linear path between the two coils. It would be easy, after all, to use a laser to beam energy across to the light bulb, but that technique wouldn't work if individuals stood in the way. And the individuals in question would probably be zapped. In the case of the MIT demonstration, the electrical energy gets from the first to the second coil in a roundabout fashion, through so-called resonance.

Admittedly, the present demonstration is rather primitive, and a lot of research and technology will be required before we can power computers and communication devices, or maybe automobiles, in a remote fashion.

One day in the future, one of my descendants might come upon the blog article I'm now writing, and exclaim to his/her partner: "Isn't it weird to think that, at Gamone, poor old William didn't even have witricity!" [That new term is short or wireless electricity.] I nevertheless insist upon pointing out to those smart young buggers, here and now, that I do have a couple of sophisticated gadgets that provide me with an uninterruptible power supply when the electricity fails during a storm. I described this hardware in an article, Show me your machines, on 15 January 2007. [Click here to display that article.]

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