In a new paper, the researchers propose a solution to a classic energy paradox: How can a magnetic sensor that picks up the magnetic field around it work at all?
The idea comes from the way nature uses electrical charges to create magnetic fields. For example, a coil in a magnet could create a magnetic field if it could be electrically charged. If you placed the wire in the middle of a magnet, it can be charged. A similar mechanism occurs when two magnetic fields are placed near each other. When the coils pick up the field, they cause the magnetic field across the wires in the cable to start moving at a specific speed.
In experiments, the investigators suggest that a current will flow from a charge collector to magnetic field collector, where the energy will flow through the wires, but not the other way — away from the magnetic field. In the presence of an external magnetic field, such as a magnetic field generator, the magnetic field generated on the wire could be dissipated — causing the wires to lose their magnetic properties.
The researchers have built a prototype magnet sensor that works in conjunction with an electric motor and an electrical generator to simulate a magnetic field — but, it’s not that simple.
The sensor they’ve built has one end that senses the wire of wires passing underneath it, and another end that senses the magnetic field of the surrounding Earth. When that pair of sensors detects that magnetic field, they cause the motor to move, the generator to turn on and, in theory, provide the desired power to the house. The researchers are confident that the sensor can be built and tested in the near term.
While it might seem obvious that the house would provide power to itself, the researchers note that the magnetic field would start to dissipate if only one or the other end of the wire is exposed to a field. It would also cease to work if the magnetic field is strong enough — a situation that would occur when the sensor is placed near the house and where there is a strong magnetic field at the other end.
In an online version of their paper, the researchers describe their magnet sensor and their results.
The magnet sensor in this concept was built by Dr. Nima Bait, who also co-founded Magnetical Sensors LLC, an engineering and startup company in Irvine, Calif., that seeks to market a product that mimics a natural magnet. Dr. Bait said he is currently working on a proposal to put the sensor through a rigorous testing process.
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