With a track record of zero, you would think the perpetual motion school of applied phyics would have shut down long ago. Not so. Today, there's a company in Dublin, Ireland, called Steorn, which claims to have developed a device, called Orbo, which violates, or at least effectively skirts around, the laws of thermodynamics. They say once the technology -- which allegedly exploits hitherto unknown properties of magnets to generate free energy from nothing, is refined -- it can be used to power cars, electronics, and just about anything that needs energy to make it run.Link
Recently Steorn announced it would unveil Orbo, at, of all places, a London art gallery on July 4. However, the demonstration was a failure, because Orbo failed to work. Steorn's official explanation sounds remarkably like the excuses offered by all fringe inventors after their machines fail to work in front of an audience: "We are experiencing some technical difficulties with the demo unit in London. Our initial assessment indicates that this is probably due to the intense heat from the camera lighting."
Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder. His new book is Maker Dad: Lunch Box Guitars, Antigravity Jars, and 22 Other Incredibly Cool Father-Daughter DIY Projects