Last week a small company in Dublin called Steorn started taking orders for their USB phone charger. It's on the large side, and is only good for two or three smartphone charges per day, or one tablet charge. So then, why are they asking 1200 euros (about $1275) each for them? Well, for one thing, you don't have to plug them in. But there are other, much cheaper chargers that draw their power from sunlight or some other source and never need to be plugged in. With Steorn's OCube charger you're not paying for convenience, you're paying to be one of the first to own a device that does the impossible -- and that might be on the verge of revolutionizing science and technology.
Or at least, that's what Steorn would have us believe.
The OCube is the latest iteration of Steorn's Orbo technology. According to Steorn's CEO Shaun McCarthy, engineers there were working up a design for a wind-driven generator to power ATM security cameras back in 2003, when they stumbled upon a strange effect: the generators were putting out more power than they were taking in. Steorn spent the next few years ruling out potential sources of experimental error, and then trying to understand the theoretical basis of the anomaly. Finally they convinced themselves that there was no getting around the conclusion that they'd invented a perpetual motion machine. They'd found a loophole in the way that magnetic fields interact that allowed the law of conservation of energy to be broken, and caused so-called "free energy" to be generated: energy from nothing. Read the rest