Wireless charging, in and of itself, is pretty darn cool. But imagine if you could charge your phone using lightning! Nokia has been working with the University of Southampton to do just that, and the results are nothing short of brilliant.
The experiment* is in keeping with Nokia’s passion for bringing customers the most innovative products on the market, and harnessing hundreds of thousands of volts from the world’s most striking natural force is a compelling concept.
For most of us, lightning can be a truly terrifying, powerful and awe-inspiring force of nature, but boffins (scientists for the rest of us) from Nokia and the University of Southampton put their heads together to try and tame the beast. They succeeded, and in a world’s first, they were able to use simulated lightning to charge a Nokia phone.
Neil Palmer, a scientist at the University of Southampton in the UK, was brought on board for the project, also allowing access to one of the world’s leading high voltage laboratories, and the experiments took place using a Nokia Lumia 925.
“We were excited by this challenge presented to us by Nokia,” Neil explained. “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. The signal was then stepped into a second controlling transformer, allowing us to charge the phone.”
What happened next surprised even the scientists, and Neil adds: “We were amazed to see that the Nokia circuitry somehow stabilized the noisy signal, allowing the battery to be charged.”
“This discovery proves that the device can be charged with a current that passes through the air, and is a huge step towards understanding a natural power like lightning and harnessing its energy,” he added.
“This is a first for any mobile phone company to trial this kind of technology,” said Chris Weber, Executive Vice President for Sales & Marketing. “We obviously aren’t recommending people try this experiment at home, but we are always looking to disrupt and push the boundaries of technology and find innovative ways to improve the performance of our products.”
“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.”
The boundaries have definitely been pushed, and you can check out the video of simulated lightning being used to charge a Nokia Lumia 925 below:
*Note: This experiment was conducted under the supervision of scientists at the University of Southampton in a strictly controlled high voltage laboratory and should not under any circumstances be attempted outside of these conditions.
Updated October 1, 2015 2:14 am