Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Turning physics on its ear
Has college dropout done
the impossible and created
a perpetual motion machine?
Feb 04, 2008 04:30 AM
Thane Heins is nervous and hopeful.
It's Jan. 24, a Thursday afternoon,
and in four days the Ottawa-area native will travel to Boston where
he'll demonstrate an invention that
appears – though he doesn't dare
say it – to operate as a perpetual
The audience, Massachusetts
Institute of Technology professor Markus Zahn, could either
deflate Heins' heretical claims or
add momentum to a 20-year obsession that has broken up his marriage and lost him custody of his two young daughters.
Zahn is a leading expert on electromagnetic and electronic systems. In a rare move for any
reputable academic, he has agreed to give Heins' creation an open-minded look rather
than greet it with outright dismissal.
It's a pivotal moment. The invention, at its very least, could moderately improve the efficiency of induction motors, used in everything from electric cars to ceiling fans. At best it means a way of tapping the mysterious powers of electromagnetic fields to produce more work out of less effort, seemingly creating electricity from nothing.
Such an unbelievable invention would challenge the laws of physics, a no-no in the rigid world of serious science. Imagine a battery system in an all-electric car that can be recharged almost exclusively by braking and accelerating, or what Heins calls "regenerative acceleration."
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