A self-contained cooking device that uses spinning magnets to create induction heat could be a valuable tool in disaster relief scenarios where energy sources have been cut off, according to its developers. Matthew Stock reports.
Turning heads at a recent design exhibition in London, this cooking pot heats up from the inside as it spins. Called the Mag Cook, it uses in-built magnets that are spun using a pull-cord, with the rapidly alternating north-south polarities creating an electromagnetic frequency which in turn generates heat. Co-designer Ashley De Garmo says the Mag Cook could offer users freedom from traditional energy sources. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ASHLEY DE GARMO, CO-INVENTOR OF MAG COOK, SAYING: "You know, once it's set up it's completely off the grid. You don't have to worry about any other kind of input. You don't have to worry about paying for electricity. Once you have it, then it produces the energy." De Garmo and his team have two prototype designs on display; the cooking pot and this induction ring. He says the simplicity of the technology and its portability mean the Mag Cook could be a valuable tool in scenarios where people have been cut off from power supplies. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ASHLEY DE GARMO, CO-INVENTOR OF MAG COOK, SAYING: "That is something where you want it to be portable, but once it's over there you don't want any of this input. You don't want it to be reliant on electricity. You want it to be sturdy and be able to operate. And I see there's a good potential market within disaster relief." De Garmo says the next challenge is to find a mechanism to keep the magnets spinning, and the energy flowing, for as long as it's needed. But he says there are various practical solutions available. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ASHLEY DE GARMO, CO-INVENTOR OF MAG COOK, SAYING: "Have it set up being powered by like a windmill or having a weight coming down which would turn the gear. There's a lot of different ways of actually getting that energy into the device." The team says these proof of concept designs show how the technology could lends itself to many applications, including heating in homes and water purification. And in an era of soaring energy bills, the chance to generate heat 'off-the-grid' with magnets, may offer an attractive alternative.