Steorn shuts down its "free energy" demo

Citing technical difficulties, the company that promised to unveil a perpetual motion machine postpones its show indefinitely.

By Farhad Manjoo

Published July 6, 2007 3:58PM (EDT)

Violating the laws of physics will have to wait till another day. Steorn, the Irish tech firm that had been planning to demonstrate its "free energy" technology this week in London, has canceled the show, citing a string of irreparable technical difficulties.

Yesterday I peeked into the firm's background -- its chest-pounding Economist ad promising to unveil a machine that provides an infinite supply of free energy, its challenge to scientists to test out its claims, and its vow to publicly unveil the civilization-altering machine at a museum in London this week. There was only a slight hitch: The heat from the lighting in the museum had somehow interfered with Orbo, the company's perpetual motion device.

Steorn worked like mad to fix it, but to no avail. In a press release today, Sean McCarthy, the CEO, says, "Technical problems arose during the installation of the demonstration unit in the display case on Wednesday evening. These problems were primarily due to excessive heat from the lighting in the main display area. Attempts to replace those parts affected by the heat led to further failures and as a result we have to postpone the public demonstration until a future date."

Well, not too terrible news, I say. After all, we've waited 14 billion years for someone to upend the fundamental design of the universe -- what's another few months or so?

[Via Gadget Lab.]

Farhad Manjoo

Farhad Manjoo is a Salon staff writer and the author of True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society.

MORE FROM Farhad Manjoo

Related Topics ------------------------------------------