Steorn, the Irish technology development company based in Dublin, postponed yesterday's much-anticipated demonstration of what it claims is "a real-life application" of a free energy technology -- a perpetual motion machine. The object of the planned demonstration was to spin a clear polycarbonate wheel in a clear plastic housing, without using external energy to generate the motion.
The demonstration was originally scheduled for yesterday, at the Kinetica Museum in London. It was intended to be viewable worldwide via Web streaming, with public showings planned for today through next week. But technical troubles seem to have delayed the entire demonstration.
On its Web site, the company said that its initial assessment indicates that the problems are "probably due to the intense heat from the camera lighting," and that an update will be provided later today after a "technical assessment."
Named Orbo, the technology is "based on magnetic field interaction" and can be used on virtually any device requiring energy, according to the company. Steorn said that Orbo does not use an external source, produces no emissions, and that, unless there is mechanical failure, will "continue to operate indefinitely."
There is, however, one slight obstacle the Orbo has to overcome: the Law of Conservation of Energy. A bedrock scientific principle, it states that energy can only change form, not be created or destroyed.
Steorn agrees that Orbo technology would violate that Law, and, because of the "revolutionary nature" of its claims, the company issued a challenge to the scientific community last August for validation testing. The challenge was made in an advertisement in The Economist, and Steorn said 22 scientists were chosen, out of several thousand replies. The Dublin-based company said the scientific validation began in January and is still underway, with results expected by the end of this year.
According to the company, the technology has already been confirmed by several private institutions, although they will not make public statements.
The technology is based on "time variant magneto-mechanical interactions," Steorn says. Mechanical energy, or wheel-turning, is the output in the anticipated demonstration, which can then be turned into electricity.
'No Doubt' Orbo Works
Steorn CEO Sean McCarthy told Ireland's SiliconRepublic.com, that if he had been watching this story from a distance five years ago, he would be thinking "it was complete bull." Nevertheless, he said, his team now has "absolutely no doubt that this works."
He also said that magnetic fields do not happen instantaneously and are not subject to time, as gravity is. He said that Orbo technology uses the time variance to generate energy.
In lieu of energy from the postponed demonstration, there is already a heated online discussion about the possibility of success for such claims. On scienceblogs.com, for instance, a user named Dougie wrote today that he's been following the "curious case" since the Economist ad.
"They're not seeking money," he said, "they're not accepting offers of investment and if they're seeking fame well [sic] that will obviously be short lived." He added that he can't come up with a reason Steorn would be doing this, except "they honestly believe they have something."
Charlie Sorrel, writing on Wired's blog, echoed observations of other skeptics, pointing out that the demonstration is scheduled for a museum rather than a technical setting, and raising the possibility that "this is all a big hoax in the name of art."
Of course, it should be just a matter of time until we know for sure. Steorn's CEO hypothesized that very hot lighting on the demonstration display case could have been the source of the trouble. "We think we've destroyed one of the bearings on the system," he told SiliconRepublic, concluding, "it's not the technology itself."