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Steorn shows revolving Orbo to the public

Steorn has unveiled its over-unity Orbo device, which promises perpetual motion, to the public in a gallery in Dublin
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Topic: Innovation
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1 of 8 Rupert Goodwins/ZDNet

At 1pm on Tuesday in Dublin, Steorn unveiled its first demonstration of its Orbo over-unity device running in public. Although ZDNet UK wasn't invited to the press conference beforehand, a reader who works very close to the demonstration site was there and sent us pictures and comment from the opening.

At the same time as the public demonstration began, Steorn started two live video streams and updated its website with more promotional material and some extra details of its developer programme. However, it has not as yet included any more substantive technical details of the underlying principle of operation — and, as we can see from the pictures, has left many key points unaddressed both on its website and in the demonstration.

There are two Steorn Orbo devices, presented on a clear plinth behind a ribbon. About the size of a domestic coffee machine, they are fashioned out of thick translucent plastic and contain a flywheel-like rotating device with coils around the periphery. A battery is connected via some electronics, and a micrometer appears to be coaxial with the shaft of the flywheel.

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2 of 8 Rupert Goodwins/ZDNet

The battery is the large black and silver cylinder to the bottom left of the device, and is connected via the electronics and red cable to the internal mechanism. Because of the translucency of the plastic, the details of the mechanism aren't clear.

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3 of 8 Rupert Goodwins/ZDNet

There is no literature available at the demonstration, and technical details are limited to posters such as this one. However, Steorn's claims that the device creates more energy than it produces — over-unity or perpetual motion — are unambiguous.

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4 of 8 Rupert Goodwins/ZDNet

The device is powered by a large 10,000 mAH 1.2v nickel metal hydride rechargeable battery. Steorn says that this is recharged by the device itself, but has not included any metering or other instrumentation that would show this. Without any information about the device's own power consumption, it is impossible to tell whether this is happening, nor whether the battery is sufficient to keep the device rotating for the duration of the demonstration without Steorn's claims.

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5 of 8 Rupert Goodwins/ZDNet

A closeup of two of the toroidial electromagnets used to drive the main rotor. The use of toroids is interesting, as the form is usually chosen because it minimises the creation or absorption of external magnetic fields — it is more commonly found in transformers and inductors where high efficiency inside the device is more important than effective coupling outside. Without details of the winding, however, it is not possible to comment further.

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6 of 8 Rupert Goodwins/ZDNet

The Orbo device photographed by flash at a high enough shutter speed to freeze the rotors. This is what it would look like at rest. The details of the contents of the base are not distinguishable, although there appear to be components there.

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7 of 8 Rupert Goodwins/ZDNet

An exploded view of the device, giving an overall sense of its construction. (The diagram is also available from Steorn's website.) The pick-up coils whereby the battery is recharged are positioned separately from the main driver coils, apparently configured as a fairly standard brushless DC motor — which can be 90 percent efficient or more.

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8 of 8 Rupert Goodwins/ZDNet

The two devices on show. To the right is one of the cameras feeding the live video stream, and behind the plinth are details of Steorn's developer programme — which starts in February and costs €419 (£375).

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