If there ever was a corporate stunt that deserved a 'do not try this at home' warning, this is it. Working with scientists from the University of Southampton—translation: people who know what they're doing—Nokia has successfully charged a Lumia 925 using lightning generated in a laboratory. All of a sudden that knock-off smartphone charger you've been using doesn't seem so dangerous, does it?
In the experiment, alternating current was stepped up by a transformer to over 200,000 volts, which caused the energy to arc across a 12-inch gap as a brilliant flash of lightning. The bolt then passed through a second transformer which ended up charging the phone's battery in just seconds.
But be forewarned, the moral of this story isn't that you should run out in a lightning storm with your smartphone held high in the air to instantly recharge it. That would be suicide. Instead, this experiment provides a tantalizing peek into what the future of charging might be like, completely eliminating the need for wires or the hours of leaving our devices plugged in. Ben Franklin would be proud. [University of Southampton via Nokia via Gizmag]