Lightning may never strike the same place twice, but your phone doesn’t need to know that, That’s because a group of scientists from the University of Southampton have teamed up with Nokia to explore the possibility of harnessing the energy of a lightning bolt to charge a mobile device.

Sound impossible? Well, the scientists have already done it.

Nokia Harnessing the power of lightning… by dm_51614f564e87d

In order to create a “lightning bolt” for their test, the team first generated 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 a Nokia Lumia 925.

“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.

This research indicates that we may one day harness the power of a lightning strike for our own personal use. Consider the energy implications, which reach beyond cellphone charging: lightning is totally renewable, incredibly sustainable and readily available.

Neil Palmer, one of the project’s lead researchers, said Nokia presented them with the original idea for the experiment. This is not surprising coming from Nokia, a company that is known for pushing the boundaries and constantly researching new concepts and technologies.

Palmer said that the circuitry 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 notion of harnessing 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 scenarios depicted in science fiction may soon become a reality.

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