Shazam! Nokia charges a Lumia 925 with a lightning bolt

The quest to use electricity to power products can trace part of its origins to Benjamin Franklin's experiments with lightning in the 18th century. Now Nokia is working on an experiment that could lead to lightning being used to charge products such as a smartphone.

In a new video posted on Nokia's YouTube channel, it shows how the company is working with the University of Southampton on this project. The brief clip shows voltage that comes from the bottom of a floor, which is then boosted by a transformer to 200,000 volts. There's a gap where the lightning is then discharged. That charge is then pushed down into another transformer and then up to a charging circuit where a Nokia Lumia 925 is in place to collect the energy.

The video says that the key part of the experiment is getting the Lumia 925 to smooth out the rather erratic charge produced by the lightning for use in charging its battery. This is clearly a very early step in the development of this kind of technology but it may lead to this kind of energy being used to charge smartphones and other types of electrical devices in the future.

Source: Nokia on YouTube

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I heard that Apple could enable this with a software update (iOS 7). Your iPhone shall become both water-resistent and thunderproof.

I can see it now... energy roulette. The house that has a strike on huge lightning rod gets free power for a month. And this whole time I have been trying to launch my phone into space on a 300 mile copper wire. Moving through the magnetic field at 17,000 mph feels slightly more reliable. I know some of you guys can't comprehend written sarcasm... so there is was before you start nerd raging.

I don't think you guys are seeing the point of this.These guys are just playing with step up/down and circuit protection technology. Big potential here to remove the external transformer completely and to change with anything. Harnessing lightning is an idea that has failed, failed, failed... just ask Tesla. We cannot detect when or where it happens.

n_K said,
'but it may lead to this kind of energy being used to charge smartphones and other types of electrical devices in the future.'
Only if your phone lasts 8 months per charge. Where are they planning to sell mobile devices where there is lightning strikes all the time, jupiter?

Lingwo said,
Why would you want lightning to charge a phone?
Everytime you charge will be a gamble. Will it charge my phone or burn my house down.


Doesn't the iPhone 5 already use lightning to charge?

Astra.Xtreme said,
I don't see how this would be useful. Are you going to throw your phone out in the rain in hopes that a lightning bolt hits close and charges it?

Or are they going to advertise: "A lightning bolt may knock you on your ass or kill you, but at least your Lumia 925 will be charged. Winning!"

I don't think this has much to do with the phone in particular, as the first couple of comments seem to think. They're experimenting on how to harness clean energy from lightning and are using the Lumia 925 as their test subject to see if it's possible.

I doubt they're actually planning on making phones which charge solely on lightning strikes.

Clearly they didn't read past the title.

It seems they're experimenting with ways in which they can condition electrical input, possibly making charging faster, and without needing to use an external transformer.

It'll be interesting to see how they implement this; they would literally need huge plots of land to create a "net" for the lightning to hit. Or, they could possibly retrofit the current arrays of wind turbines with lightning rods (if they're in areas thunderstorms frequent).

YouWhat said,
Surely it would use less electric to just plug it in the mains......

Yeah, I'm thinking this can't be terribly efficient. But what do I know?

A few things that I see in this experiment:

1. It shows that the circuitry of the Lumia can stabilize noisy signal and allow the battery to draw charge.
2. If the simulated lightning's electromagnetic pulses is send to a controlling transformer, it can charge a device.
3. Possibly another way of harnessing power, and finding a way to store it.
4. Nokia and South Hampton didn't really explain what the experiment is for, other than ...see #1

Agreed - except it's Southampton. Or "So'ton" if you're a road-sign writer and really really enjoy confusing the hell out of tourists and lorry-drivers.

What it will lead to is phones that can charge off of the static created by temperature changes and tying that in with types of cordless changing we have now. Once they figure it out we will be walking into buildings and our phones will be on charge no matter were you are in the building. It will also be able to charge itself with the right atmospheric conditions. Cooler climates mainly were static is present. In a sense, it would be charging itself using the static charge your own body puts off.

Not unless we figure out a way to violate the laws of physics. Say you can 0.5 joules out a significant static shock. My relatively small phone battery is about 16,000 joules. Multiply that by everyone in the building and the place would have to be a death trap.

i somehow pictured a "boost" charger that hits the phone and tops its battery, like an energy weapon in some scifi
now THAT i would like

You guys obviously don't understand the experiment. There could be devices/machines in the future inside buildings or possibly even in compact devices even later that create a lightning bolt inside it... that will create additional power options for charging up your devices and other utilities. There's always more need for power, so it's always good to look for additional sources.

Not sure how you see it that way? Seems a rather brief and cartoonish demonstration of research into how possible it is to capture lightning's massive explosive energy and convert it into a stored, smoothed and massively more manageable charge. Seems to be ridiculously easy, too! That they're using a smartphone as the storage cell is simply to please the sponsor. A hugely interesting concept - even if we get about 1 thunderstorm every 5 years around here.

I don't see how this would be useful. Are you going to throw your phone out in the rain in hopes that a lightning bolt hits close and charges it?

Or are they going to advertise: "A lightning bolt may knock you on your ass or kill you, but at least your Lumia 925 will be charged. Winning!"

Why would you want lightning to charge a phone?
Everytime you charge will be a gamble. Will it charge my phone or burn my house down.


Doesn't the iPhone 5 already use lightning to charge?

No, it doesn't use actual lightning. It uses the Lightning Connector which has a usb port at the end of the cable, and a connector that goes into your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad.

'but it may lead to this kind of energy being used to charge smartphones and other types of electrical devices in the future.'
Only if your phone lasts 8 months per charge. Where are they planning to sell mobile devices where there is lightning strikes all the time, jupiter?