The Museum of Hoaxes
hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive
 
The Great Space Monkey Hoax, 1953
Jennifer Love Hewitt's Disappearing Breasts
Bonsai Kittens, 2000
Old-Time Photo Fakery, 1900 to 1919
Fake Fish Photos
Cat that walked 3000 miles to find its owners, 1951
Rachael Ray cooks her family and her dog
The Great Electric Sugar Swindle, 1884
Adolf Hitler Baby Photo Hoax, 1933
The Case of the Vanishing Belly Button, 1964
Total Home Remote Electricity -- April Fool's Day, 1999
Executives at 130 major companies received a professionally designed package of information about an exciting new product: Total Home Remote Electricity. This technology, manufactured by Ottmar Industries of Switzerland, allowed electricity to be beamed wirelessly anywhere within a house. Simply plug one of the small "projectors" into a wall outlet, and a safe electrical "aura" would envelop the home. By attaching a converter to any appliance, the appliance would be able to receive power at any location within the aura, even outside on the roof. "Did you ever imagine making toast on your roof?" the promotional material asked.

Accompanying the ads was a letter from a company called Hoffman York Plc that claimed to be an information-gathering service. Executives were invited to phone the 1-800 number to learn how Hoffman York could obtain information about products that might pose a competitive threat. The material provided was offered as an example. Over 30 people called the number, including three high-level executives. Hoffman York was really an advertising agency. The ads were April Fool's Day publicity stunts.


Interestingly, it is possible to do something like this.

Powerlines have a safe zone around them because electricity is given off as they go through the lines. A coil of copper wire can essentially tap into this loss. This is a 'myth' that the MythBusters television show tested, and while signifigant wire is needed to get enough power to run a small watch, it definetely wasn't enough to do anything interesting. But the science is sound.

Even more interesting, wireless transmission of power is a subject that is currently studied by groups like NASA, generally about gathering energy through satelites and trasmitting them down to Earth.

Power transmission will, sooner or later, be possible. (Although other, better methods may well render it useless.)
Posted by J. Lam  in  Canada  on  Thu Jun 02, 2005  at  01:44 AM
I believe Tesla was actually working on this, wasn't he?
Posted by Chris Randolph  in  Philadelphia PA USA  on  Thu Feb 16, 2006  at  01:22 PM
The idea is neat and useful...how many times could I have used wireless electricity to power something in my room without having to do painful gymnastics to reach an outlet?!
Posted by Nikki  on  Wed Mar 29, 2006  at  02:00 PM
Funny thing is, this is kinda possible even without the Tesla coils...and it's only gonna cost you about $35.

Wireless extension cords now exist that can beam power across a room (or house) wirelessly.

http://www.thinkgeek.com/stuff/41/wec.shtml
Posted by Jeff  on  Mon Apr 03, 2006  at  01:20 PM
Yo Jeff...Those WEC's are an April Fool's Joke...though I don't know why ThinkGeek still has them up on April 3rd.
Posted by Heather  in  Austin, TX  on  Mon Apr 03, 2006  at  06:55 PM
I know, I know. I thought it would be funny to post an April Fool's joke in the museum. You got me!

Jeff
Posted by Jeff  on  Mon Apr 03, 2006  at  09:25 PM
Now that I've thought about it, I really *do* want to use a toaster on my roof.

But all I really need is an extension cord.
Posted by Eric  on  Fri Apr 07, 2006  at  09:50 PM
I did actually build a "cordless extension lead" once. It consisted of a 12V car battery in a carrier with a 200 watt inverter attached.
Posted by AJS  in  Derby  on  Wed Jan 03, 2007  at  11:21 AM
This sounds like such a standard April Fools that you don't expect it to be true anymore... Slashdot (http://science.slashdot.org/science/07/04/01/0421214.shtml) has an article today (April 1st 2007) that sounds _exactly_ like the April Fools presented here and apparently they now really try to do this (the company is for real - here is a Jaunary article about the same thing: http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-12760_7-9673092-5.html).
Posted by Alex  on  Sun Apr 01, 2007  at  07:37 AM
No! I want to use my microwave on my roof!
Posted by Monica  in  a computer chair  on  Sun Apr 01, 2007  at  05:39 PM
Tesla was transmitting energy this way,(thats what radio is) Marconi used many of Tesla's patents to get his radio to work. Tesla had demonstrated radio reception years before in England. Tesla lit strings of light bulbs from miles away using induction. basically he thought that if you could create enough voltage you could overcome the resistance and transmit power anywhere, ohms law I=V/R. Of course the energy delivered was inversely proportionate to the distance from the source I=1/distance^2. Tesla was long on brains but short on math(much of it was worked out later). He did invent most of our modern power transmission systems(as well as discover Radio).
Posted by Trollicus  on  Mon Apr 02, 2007  at  09:46 PM
Hey people, you really can have wireless electricity in your house now. You can charge your mobile or switch on a lamp as long as it's near a transformer that's plugged into the main supply!
Posted by Purplegoo  in  Somewhere near Birmingham, England  on  Tue Jun 12, 2007  at  12:47 PM
This is currently possible but on a far smaller scale. It's called inductive charging and some things use it. Specifically electric toothbrushes (wouldn't want water to get there), certain implants (electric neurostimulators and such), and *I think* some high end laptops. I'm not too sure about the laptops.
Posted by Greg  in  South Carolina  on  Thu Feb 07, 2008  at  12:13 AM
It's just too close to truth now to be funny:
http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/wireless-power.htm

I'm eagerly awaiting wireless power....
Posted by me  in  wa  on  Tue Apr 01, 2008  at  12:20 AM
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