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Monday, 07 October 2013 09:28

Nokia wants to power your phone with lightning

Written by Nick Farrell

Company never loses the power to shock

A group of scientists from the University of Southampton have teamed up with Nokia to explore the possibility of harnessing the energy of a lightning bolt to charge a mobile device. 

In order to create a "lightning bolt" for their test, the team first generated an alternating current through a transformer. They then channeled that current between a gap that was a little under an inch thick, surging 200,000 volts — well within the average strength of a typical lightning strike — in the form of a bolt of electricity. The signal was then transferred into another controlling transformer, where it was able to charge the battery of a Nokia Lumia 925.

Chris Weber, Nokia's vice president of sales and marketing said that this experiment has the potential to jump-start new ideas on how we charge our phones in the future. Neil Palmer, one of the project's lead researchers, said the circuitry of the Nokia device was able to stabilize the signal of the lightning, which then allowed the battery to be charged. This is important to note because one of the main arguments against using lightning is that it is unpredictable.

Devices can be charged with a current that passes through the air," he said, "and is a huge step towards understanding a natural power like lightning and harnessing its energy."

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