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February 2009 Archives

February 3, 2009

Is Steorn about to lift the curtain?

The front page of Steorn's web site has changed in the past 24 hours -- all the previous content is gone, replaced with a blue curtain and the date "4 February 2009". According to Sean McCarthy's December talk at the Dublin Institute of Technology, February is when Steorn will begin the process of going public with its Orbo technology, and that just might begin tomorrow. According to Sean, Steorn will begin by calling for 300 engineers to sign NDAs and begin replicating Orbo. An open call for engineers may be all we see in February, but it's just possible we'll finally get a glimpse of the one thing behind the curtain that really matters, if it exists at all -- a perpetually spinning Orbo.

February 4, 2009

Steorn opens Orbo to developers

Today Steorn unveiled their updated web site, and there's a lot that's new.

The video on the home page sums up the biggest news: Steorn is about to release Orbo, its claimed 'free energy' technology, to developers. They are calling for 300 qualified engineers to sign up for free, non-commercial development licenses. These engineers will be invited to join the Steorn Knowledge Development Base (SKDB), an online community of Steorn developers that includes a set of "e-learning modules" to walk potential developers through all of the physical principles necessary to understand how Orbo works. The SKDB, which has been in beta with a small set of members for over a year, will at first be open to 300 new engineers, but is then expected to open up to anyone who's interested sometime in 2009. Commercial development licenses will also be available later this year.

In addition to the SKDB, Steorn has announced the release of several Orbo-related commercial products. Their USB Hall probe is used to record magnetic flux. The magnetic torque measurement system is designed to measure the torque of a rotary magnetic system, by subtracting away external influences such as friction, gravity, and air drag. ZeroF passive magnetic bearings eliminate friction by using permanent magnets to separate the moving parts. Each of these products appears to be geared at building and testing systems based on the Orbo technology.

Finally, the Steorn site now features a page briefly explaining how Orbo works, and announces a series of talks to be given at engineering universities around the world, beginning in the Middle East this month, continuing to Europe in the summer, and finishing in the United States in autumn.

It looks like Steorn is going ahead with the plans they announced in December, to begin the commercialization of Orbo in February. If it weren't for the fact that Orbo is supposed to be impossible, and that there still remains not a single photo or video of a spinning, self-sustaining device anywhere on Steorn's site, this would look like any other exciting but routine product launch. Orbo's promise of free energy feels closer than ever today, but yet again it's still too early to be certain that this isn't all just smoke and mirrors. Hopefully we'll learn more soon as these 300 engineers sign up and begin to try to replicate Orbo on their own.

February 12, 2009

First stop: Qatar

With last week's introduction of Steorn's revamped site, we learned some more specifics about the series of talks that Steorn plans to hold, around the globe, over the course of this year. The first stop is the small Arab nation of Qatar. The talk, to be held February 18th, has been reported by at least two Arab media outlets, Qatar's The Peninsula and the United Arab Emirate's Zawya.

DOHA: The Finland[sic]-based alternative energy company Steorn will kick-start its Middle East ‘face-to-face’ discussions regarding the principles behind its newly-developed controversial Orbo technology, from Doha.

The first leg of its tour is scheduled to start from Qatar University on February 18, before moving on to a number of universities in the UAE, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. The Steorn announced that it will hold a number of presentations throughout the Middle East during the first half of this year. Similar tours across Europe and he US will commence during summer 2009.

Orbo is a technology that creates energy from magnetic interactions. It provides free, clean and constant energy at the point of use. It is a platform technology that can be engineered to power anything from a phone, to a fridge to a car.

However, a section of scientists have challenged this claim saying energy cannot be simply created.

Neither the site for Qatar University nor the site for their College of Engineering mention Steorn on their calendars, though it appears that few events are posted to those calendars at all.

In other news, several sites have posted articles reporting on Steorn's announcements of last week. These include the following:

Engadget: Steorn returns, promises to open Orbo specs, give you a pony
The tongue-in-cheek approach makes it clear that Engadget gives little credence to Steorn's claims after 2007's failed demo.

ZDNet: Steorn is at it again!
Rupert Goodwins appears to fall squarely in the 'scam' camp on the question of Steorn.

OhMyNews: Steorn Raises the Magnetic Curtain
Of the current batch of media coverage, this is the only one that approaches the topic with a positive bias. The author, a member of Steorn's SKDB developer forum, seems to take the existence of a working Orbo for granted.

The Young Witness: Everything you need to know about science
A light humor column that lumps Steorn in with with the anti-gravity effect of dropping a cat with a buttered toast attached to its back.

Update 2/15:

Sean McCarthy's talk has been added to the Qatar University calendar. Available from that page is a 3-sheet PDF with a description of the talk:


The presentation is on the topic of "conservation of energy and specifically our claims with respect to energy in asymmetric magnetic systems." ... The purpose of the presentation is to provide an insight into the principle [sic] theory and possible applications of the technology and is esigned [sic] only to inform and stimulate student engineering and research understanding and interest.

February 17, 2009

Orbo to be 'unveiled' on February 25th?

After tomorrow's planned talk in Qatar, Steorn will continue the Middle East leg of its Orbo world tour next week, with a stop at Oman's Sultan Qaboos University next Wednesday, February 25th, according to an article in the paper Zawya.

What's most intriguing is the specific wording of the article; according to Zawya, "[Steorn] will be showcasing its technology", and will "unveil its ground-breaking technology" (emphasis added). This wording could be the result of poor translation (as we saw in the Qatar advertisement) or of a misunderstanding of Steorn's intentions (reportedly an organizer of the Dublin Institute of Technology talk had expected Sean to demonstrate the Orbo at that event, too). On the other hand, it just might mean exactly what it says: that Orbo will be publicly demonstrated, for the first time, in Oman. If so, this raises the question of why Sean will not (or of whether he will) demonstrate Orbo at the Qatar event, tomorrow. In my opinion, Steorn can't pull off many more presentations that are all talk and no show, like he did at D.I.T., and continue to hope to be taken seriously. If Sean has anything worth showing, now is the time to show it.

The full article can be found here. An excerpt is reprinted below.

A controversial Irish alternative energy company which claims to have discovered a source of free energy that defies the basic laws of physics, will be showcasing its technology at a special presentation scheduled at Sultan Qaboos University next week. Dublin-based Steorn Ltd, a privately held technology development firm, says it will be unveil its ground-breaking technology, branded as 'Orbo', on February 25. The event is part of a series of presentations planned at key universities in the Gulf and the Middle East ahead of the proposed commercial rollout of the technology later this year.

Steorn hopes the presentations will inspire the student and engineering faculty towards engaging with this new technology. "Our focus is on getting our Orbo technology into the hands of organizations that will push it into the market," says CEO Sean McCarthy. "We are starting this process in the Middle East, a region with a strong energy heritage and a real commitment to the development of alternative energies for the future." The presentation at the SQU, as well as those scheduled elsewhere around the Gulf, notably the UAE, Qatar and Bahrain are expected to generate international interest, given the fierce controversy surrounding Steorn and its so-called 'free energy technology'.

February 24, 2009

Wanted: Word on Sean McCarthy's talks in Qatar and Oman

Last Wednesday, February 18th, Steorn's Sean McCarthy was scheduled to give a talk at Qatar University. Thus far, no word has been heard about how this talk went, whether an Orbo was demonstrated, or even if the talk took place at all. Another event is scheduled for this Wednesday, February 25th -- this time at Sultan Qaboos University in Muscat, Oman.

If you were there for Sean McCarthy's talk in Qatar last week, or will be at his talk in Oman this week, we want to hear from you!
It's just possible that these talks represent the beginning of a technological revolution of unprecedented proportion, and if you were there to witness it, there are many, many people who want to hear what you have to report. Questions most in need of an answer include:

1) Did the talk take place?
2) Was an actual Orbo device shown? Did it appear that self-sustaining motion was demonstrated?
3) How many people were in attendance and what was the general reaction of the audience? What is your reaction?

If you can answer these questions, please shoot me an e-mail at contact(at)dispatchesfromthefuture.com. Thanks!

In related news, details about this week's talk in Oman have been posted to the Sultan Qaboos University web site, here, and are reprinted below.

Seminar Announcement - Monday, February 23, 2009
Title: Introducing Orbo: A new way of looking at magnetic interactions in asymmetric system
By: Sean McCarthy, CEO of Steorn Ltd.
Date: Wednesday 25th February, @ 2:00PM
Venue: Lecture Theater 2

February 25, 2009

Steorn's Oman talk took place -- but apparently without an Orbo.

Today I received the following from Said Salim Hamdan Al-Abri, the head of the IEEE engineering society at Sultan Qaboos University, who graciously responded to my question of whether he was present at Sean's talk and if an Orbo device was demonstrated:

Yes Sir
I was there and he talked about some kind of motors that he invented.
Unfortunately I could not understand the talk very well may be because of his xent and my poor english.
One of the amazing and seems unbeleivable thins is that the motor which he proposed has an efficiency of 17000!!!!!!!!!!!

While this is only one unverified report, it sounds like Sean McCarthy did hold the planned talk in Oman, but there's no indication that he had an Orbo to show off (given that it is referred to as the motor that "he proposed"). Why on earth would he be traveling the globe to stoke interest in his incredible claims, without bringing along a single shred of evidence to support those claims? One possibility is that the current talks are seen as 'warm-ups', outside of the reach of major media, and that he doesn't believe a demonstration is required yet. Another possibility, of course, is that there just isn't anything to be demonstrated.

Update:

In response to a follow-up question, Mr. Al-Abri made clear the Orbo was a no-show:

No he did not show us any actual motor. It was just power point slides.

Update 2:

The following was received from Arif Saeed Malik at SQU:

I have not had a chance to listen to Sean. But I asked my friend who attended it and he told me that he just talked about it. Apparently he tried to demonstrate but then said that it is not properly working due to set-up problem.

Interesting... has yet another Orbo demonstration fallen prey to 'technical difficulties'?


About February 2009

This page contains all entries posted to Steorn's Orbo in February 2009. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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