Do Not Try This at Home

Can lightning charge your cell phone?

Lightning may never strike the same place twice, but your phone doesn’t need to know that.

Just recently a group of scientists from the University of Southhampton have teamed up with Nokia to create the possiblity of harnessing the energy of a lightning bolt to charge a mobile phone or device.

In order to create a “lightning bolt” for their test, the team first created 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 the phone.

“As one of the first companies to introduce wireless charging into our products, we believe that this experiment has the potential to jump-start new ideas on how we charge our phones in the future,” Chris Weber, Nokia’s vice president of sales and marketing told the website.

This research proves that we can one day collect the power of a lightning strike for our own personal use. Besides the energy problems, which reach farther than the average cellphone charging, lightning is totally renewable, incredibly sustainable and readily available.

Neil Palmer, one of the leaders of the project and  also a researcher, said Nokia presented them with the original idea for the experiment. This is not surprising coming from Nokia, a company that is know for “pushing the boundries”and always researching new ideas and technologies.

They said that the system 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 the allowing of harnissing or collecting lightning  for energy has been that lightning is too unpredictable.

“This discovery proves 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.”

Using the power of lightning has long been a staple of science fiction. But if this experiment proves anything, it is that some of those seemingly impossible ideas may be depicted in science fiction may soon become a reality.