it.gen.nz

Writings on technology and society from Wellington, New Zealand

Monday, October 27, 2008

Electromagnetic inducer

Today I went for a walk – the Puke Ariki track in Belmont Regional Park, fantastic but I won’t be able to move in the morning – and I came across three guys doing something strange on Boulder Hill.

They had a machine that superficially resembled a tripod-style barbecue. At the top were heavy unshielded wires connected to things that looked like insulators which were standing up around the circumference of the machine. I say they looked like insulators, but they were aluminium coloured instead of the more normal ceramics that insulators are made from. And there were some serious wire coils underneath the “insulators”, made of the traditional copper wires. Beneath the body of the machine, suspended between the tripod legs, another part of the machine swung freely in the wind. A stray length of wire (number 8?) ran from the machine through some lazy spirals to an end on the tussock. I’d have taken a picture, but the guys really didn’t encourage it.

The guys themselves weren’t particularly communicative. They had probably been asked by dozens of people what this was all about, and all they told me was that it was an electromagnetic inducer. The edge in the spokesman’s tone of voice didn’t invite further questions.

So, my question is: are these guys –

a) performing some vital public service

b) doing some useful research through a recognised tertiary institution that they aren’t prepared to explain to random passers-by

c) total flakes?

Answers in the comments, please!

posted by colin at 9:12 pm  

5 Comments

  1. photos!! Or it didn’t happen.

    Comment by brenda — 27 October 2008 @ 10:12 pm

  2. Alas, no photographs. I didn’t have a proper camera, and getting close enough to do it with my iPhone wasn’t welcomed.

    Comment by colin — 28 October 2008 @ 9:36 am

  3. Are there any high-voltage lines in that area ?

    Comment by Brett — 28 October 2008 @ 3:29 pm

  4. Brett – yes, there are. The HVDC link goes close by, although that’s direct current and doesn’t hum.

    Comment by colin — 28 October 2008 @ 6:56 pm

  5. bring a flourescent tube next time, or just go up brooklyn hill to see it glow on its own.

    Comment by br3nda — 28 October 2008 @ 11:53 pm

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