Nokia has teamed up with scientists from the University of Southampton to find ways to harness lighting to charge mobile devices, and they actually succeeded in charging a Lumia 925, reports Mashable. It is something; scientists have been experimenting with, at least since the 1750s.
Wikimedia Commons An artistic rendition of the kite experiment by Benjamin West
The achievement was hailed as a "huge step towards understanding a natural power like lightning and harnessing its energy," by Neil Palmer, one of the project's lead.
Though, Nokia may not be the first one to attempt it. The possibilities of drawing electricity from the sky have been discussed at least, as early as the 1750s in France and the U.S.
In June 1752, scientist, politician and one of the founding fathers of the U.S., Benjamin Franklin was engrossed in attempting to understand the potential of lightning to be used as a source of electricity. Though the antecedent of Mr Franklin's famous "kite experiment," which he did with the assistance of his son William Franklin, is vigorously debated; historians believe it to be factually correct.
Mr Franklin himself never wrote about it. What we know of his experiments is from the account of his friend and associate Joseph Priestley, himself a theorist and experimenter, credited to have discovered oxygen.
Mr Priestley writes: "Preparing, therefore, a large silk handkerchief and two cross-sticks of a proper length on which to extend it, he took the opportunity of the first approaching thunderstorm to take a walk in the fields, in which there was a shed convenient for his purpose. But, dreading the ridicule which too commonly attends unsuccessful attempts in science, he communicated his intended experiment to nobody but his son who assisted him in raising the kite."
Mr Priestley continues: "The kite being raised, a considerable time elapsed before there was any appearance of its being electrified...as he was beginning to despair of his contrivance, he observed some loose threads of the hempen string to stand erect...struck with this promising appearance, he immediately presented his knuckle to the key, and...perceived a very evident electric spark. Others succeeded, even before the string was wet, so as to put the matter past all dispute, and when the rain had wet the string he collected electric fire very copiously."
Researchers across the world, have since being working on developing devices that would collect electricity from the atmosphere for energy use and prevention of lightning.
The Nokia- University of Southampton experiment just brought us a step closer to the immense possibilities of harvesting this vastly available source of renewable energy.