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Thanks for the memories  July 26, 2012

Scientists charge mobile phone with lightning

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Michelle Starr is the tiger force at the core of all things. She also writes about cool stuff and apps as CNET Australia's Crave editor. But mostly the tiger force thing.

(Tesla coil image by Michael Pereckas, CC BY 2.0)

Scientists at the University of Southampton in the UK have harnessed the power of lightning to charge a Nokia Lumia 925.

Meet the post-modern Prometheus. It's not a monster made out of cadaver parts that University of Southampton scientists have brought to life with the power of lightning but a rather smaller target: the Nokia 925 smartphone.

Nokia recruited a team led by Neil Palmer, manager of the Tony Davies High Voltage Laboratory, for the undertaking. Using the lab's equipment, the team was able to create artificial lightning bolts, which were captured, tamed and channelled into the smartphone's battery.

(Credit: University of Southampton/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," Palmer explained. "The signal was then stepped into a second controlling transformer, allowing us to charge the phone."

What happened next was a surprise, the scientist said. "We were amazed to see that the Nokia circuitry somehow stabilised the noisy signal, allowing the battery to be charged in only seconds."

According to Palmer, this experiment proves that a device can be charged by an airborne current. However, we don't recommend standing out in a lightning storm waving your dead phone around like a lunatic semaphore signaller. In fact, lightning — proper, atmospheric lightning — is still far too dangerous and unpredictable for use in experiments, never mind practical applications.

You can check out the experiment in the video below. Nokia Lumia 925, we hereby dub thee "Adam".


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AlexV1 posted a comment   

Funky.. Now how about they use lightning to make my toasted sandwich ! :)


viswamcnet posted a comment   

Nokia's hardware is best, it can withstand such a massive amount of current

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