Thursday, September 26, 2013

Can Wireless Electricity Kill People?

Nikola Tesla in his Niagara Falls lab with his coils, which could discharge millions of volts and send electricity through the air. 
Probably not. Even when it's nipping at our toes, wireless electricity is pretty safe. In 1899, Serbian engineer Nikola Tesla built a 142-foot-tall, 12-million-volt electric coil in Colorado Springs and transmitted electricity wirelessly across 25 miles, illuminating 200 lamps with the charge. After he flipped the switch, flashes of lightning leaped from the coil, but no one was harmed.

Tesla's experiment proved that the Earth itself could be used to conduct electricity, no wires necessary. He also experimented with electromagnetic induction, a phenomenon discovered 70 years before Tesla's experiments by the English scientist Michael Faraday. In electromagnetic induction, an oscillating magnetic field around an electromagnet produces a current in a nearby conductor—in effect, the current jumps the gap. While it is airborne, electric energy exists as a magnetic field. Magnetic induction is used today in the contact plates on electric toothbrushes, transmitting a charge from the plastic-wrapped charging station to the battery inside the brush.
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