This caught my eye the other day... It's an Irish Technology Consulting company who claims to have created a perpetual-motion machine that returns up to 400% efficiency, which means that three times the energy you put into it is available for use, because it runs itself. Apart from equipment failure, the idea is that this thing can run forever, which totally contradicts all our ideas of the laws of physics and the conservation of energy. Here's a picture that I pulled off a video on their site about the basics of how the Steorn Orbo Free Energy Machine works:
Steorn CEO Sean McCarthy explains how the Orbo functions: "Orbo is based upon the principle of time variant magneto-mechanical interactions. The core output from our Orbo technology is mechanical. This mechanical energy can be converted into electrical energy using standard generator technology either by integrating such technology directly with Orbo or by connecting the mechanical output from Orbo to the generation technology. The efficiency of such mechanical/electrical conversions is highly dependent on the components used and is also a function of size."
This means, in lame-man's terms, that the little ball-thing gets acted on by the three magnets in three different directions and rotates around all of them, creating mechanical energy that can then be turned into electrical energy.
Obviously, since the very idea of such a machine is a violation of all the laws of conservation of energy, the Orbo has been met with skepticism, ridicule, and contempt by the scientific community. In response, Steorn issued a full-page ad in The Economist, a scientific journal (the ad alone cost $60,000), challenging the scientific community to form a "jury" to come inspect the Orbo and deliver a verdict on whether or not it actually works. Twenty-two people were eventually chosen, and their decision is expected at the end of this year.
On July 6th, the Steorn team was scheduled to give a public demonstration of the Orbo machine at the Kinetica museum in London. They had rigged four live video feeds in the Orbo chamber so that around the world, people could watch live video online. However, the lights mounted above the camera apparently caused "unexpected equipment failures" and when they tried replacing the equipment, it led to "further failures." Thus, the demonstration has been postponed for at least three weeks, possibly more.
This incident, coupled with Steorn's obsessive secrecy about the project (they won't release schematics or models of how it works, they won't release the name of the company who makes their prototypes, they can't give demonstrations to journalists, etc), has led to feelings that it's just a big scam and a hoax, but the company appears to be serious about promoting this product and the benefit it will have on our lives and the lives of people in developing countries. I think it'll be interesting to follow this company, and to see if their machine works at all.