When your microwave is sitting there glowing and spinning inside, do you ever wonder where all those stray rays of energy go? Turns out they usually just slip out the door, into thin air. But a Japanese scientists has found away to harness that power and use it to juice your other appliances.
Yoshihiro Kawahara, an electronics engineer at the University of Tokyo, has been studying energy leakage from conventional microwave ovens and recently concluded that about 1 milliwatt of power is available in front of the appliance. It's useable energy too. Kawahara and his team designed a little power harvester that's about the size of a quarter and attached a centimeter-long microwave antennae on it. "The energy accumulated over a two-minute run of the microwave oven was enough to operate some low-power kitchen tools for a few minutes," Kawahara wrote in a paper about his findings.
What's cool about this finding is that the power harvesters are small enough to insert into pretty much any kitchen appliance. With so much buzz building around the world of wireless power, it's not unreasonable to think that some gadget companies might try to make use of the microwave's stray energy. You might never have to plug in a toaster ever again. [New Scientist]
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