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Since spring this year an operation called Magniwork has been selling a $50 DIY guide to building a perpetual motion device at home. On their web-site the fraudsters claim the materials are available in any local hardware store for less than $100. One estimate puts sales of the guide as high as 5,000 copies a month, making the scam worth up to $3m a year.
The claims for Magniwork are advanced via an extensive Google advertising campaign, and a network of blogs, web-sites and reviews endorsing the product. They are given further credibility by a clip of film from Sky News Australia about plans for a similar product made by a legitimate if optimistic research company called Lutec. Lutec patented its technology in 19 countries in 1999, but the product has still not seen the light of day. Off-Grid has discovered that the clip is over 8 years old.
Perpetual motion machine
Magniwork which describes its product as ‘a magnetic power generator’ claims to have invented a revolutionary off-grid power source that uses magnets to “power itself and create energy by itself, without requiring solar energy, heat, water, coal or any kind of resource.” The web-site promises the device will generate perpetual energy which will “fully power your home for free.”
However even the idea of such a device is dismissed by trained physicists. “The little explanation they give on their website makes no sense to me,” said Gunnar Pruessner, a lecturer in physics at Imperial College London. “For starters it breaks with all we know about quantum physics since Dirac, which says that we cannot tap into zero point fluctuations or virtual particles.”
He observed that if the claims were true, they would mark the biggest advance in science ever. “It would bring a world-wide socio-economic revolution with incalculable political consequences. So you have to ask why are they scuzzing around selling their priceless IP (intellectual property) for a few dollars?”
Made in Macedonia
The site gives no way of contacting Magniwork -other than to order the guide. But its legal disclaimer reveals that despite the .com web address which suggests a US-based company, Magniwork is in fact located in Macedonia, a tiny republic on the northern border of Greece in Europe. “This Agreement shall all be governed and construed in accordance with the laws of Macedonia applicable to agreements made and to be performed in Macedonia,” it reads. It has similarly proved difficult to identify the individuals behind the scheme. But one researcher claims to have written to the site’s web-master who referred in his reply to a man simply called “Igor”, the manual’s publisher.
Kernel of truth
Angry customers admit that the guide does contain kernels of truth. “Some of the suggestions in the e-book can reduce your home power consumption. For example, checking for air leaks, have better home insulation, servicing your air-conditioning unit or heate etc,”wrote one. But is it essentially amateurish and misleading, they say. “The whole “document” is 57 pages long and looks like something a kid in high school put together. The final “generator” is basically a magnet that is 2″ high sitting on a turntable that is 4″ high! They claim that its output is 24.5 Watts! That is 1/100th of what my house uses when the AC is on. It wouldn’t put out enough power to light up a standard light bulb,“ wrote another angry blogger. Fraudulent
Alternative energy expert Sterling D. Allan founder of The New Energy Congress has examined Magniwork’s claims. “Most of the 50+ page manual contains energy conservation tips that are based on well-established principles,” he said. But he points out that plans for the device are freely available elsewhere, they are based on other people’s work and he claims to have tried to contact people offering testimonials, without success. “The wording on their site still gives the reader the idea that the plans will result in a working free energy device but that is not the case. Such representation is fraud,” he concluded.
Although highly implausible, the idea of somehow harvesting magnetic power has intrigued scientists for over a century. It was first suggested by pioneering physicist Nicola Tesla in the nineteenth century. Australian company Lutec is still trying to perfect such a device. And U.S based based Magnetic Power Inc, headed by Mark Goldes, has claimed to be on the verge of launching a ‘Magnetic Power Module’ for at least six years. There is no suggestion that either Lutec or MPI are part of the scam.
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