WASHINGTON - The microwave of the future could charge cellphones, in addition to popping popcorn and reviving last night's leftovers.
Researchers at University of Tokyo are studying ways of harvesting and storing small amounts of leaked energy from a microwave oven, to recharge phones and operate other household gadgets.
Yoshihiro Kawahara and his colleagues collect the leaked energy with an antenna, connected to a charge pump with converts the leaked microwave energy into a DC current.
Running a microwave for 2 minutes gathered enough energy to run a kitchen timer for two minutes.
The idea for Kawahara's experiment came from NASA, according to Mashable, which reports the space agency is developing a project that would send solar farms into the earth's orbit, to feed gathered energy to earth in the form of radio waves.
The Food and Drug Administration regulates how much energy can leak from microwaves. On its website, the agency acknowledges "Many scientific questions about exposure to low-levels of microwaves are not yet answered."
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