They said it couldn't be done. And it probably can't. A year after an Irish company called Steorn promised a perpetual energy source that required only magnetism, not fuel, the device called Orbo was set up for a 10-day public demonstration. Yesterday, at the Kinetica Museum in London, was to be the scheduled unveiling and although the lead scientist was not named Dr. Octavius or Dr. von Doom, something about the "time variant magneto-mechanical interaction" at the center of this process seemed ominous. Nevertheless, the public was invited to watch. Using Internet Explorer, you could even check out four different cameras in the Orbo's chamber. As you may have guessed, the demonstration did not go according to plan.
No, Steorn did not create a wormhole to another part of the universe. There was no white hot spinny thing raging out of control, though there were problems with spinny things, and they did involve excessive heat. The "technical difficulties" message appeared thusly:
We are experiencing some technical difficulties with the demo unit in London. Our initial assessment indicates that this is probably due to the intense heat from the camera lighting. We have commenced a technical assessment and will provide an update later today. As a consequence, Kinetica will not be open to the public today (5th July). We apologise for this delay and appreciate your patience.
The video feed was live, but there was nothing happening at all.
The question now is: Will it ever happen? We're not so sure, although much of the world has already pounded the gavel and headed off to chambers. Stay tuned to the camera link and find out. In the meantime, I leave you more technically minded readers with Steorn's own description of the Orbo technology (which it is very happy to license or have you invest in). Is it snakeoil? Or does it have real bite? You be the judge:
Orbo is based upon the principle of time variant magneto-mechanical interactions. The core output from our Orbo technology is mechanical. This mechanical energy can be converted into electrical energy using standard generator technology either by integrating such technology directly with Orbo or by connecting the mechanical output from Orbo to the generation technology. The efficiency of such mechanical/electrical conversions is highly dependent on the components used and is also a function of size.