Hold a fluorescent light bulb near this table, and the filament will suddenly flicker on. It looks like magic, but it’s simple science: An embedded circuit produces an electromagnetic field that acts on the mercury gas inside the bulbs, making them glow as if they’re plugged in.
A fluorescent tube glows when an electrical voltage is set up across it. The electric field set up inside the tube excites atoms of mercury gas, making them emit ultraviolet light. This invisible light strikes the phosphor coating on the glass tube, making it glow.
In other words, the table is harnessing the power of wireless energy — a feat that has proved so elusive to those who would harness it on a larger scale, like Nikola Tesla, whose doomed Wardenclyffe Tower was an attempt to transmit electrical power across great distances.
In fact, the base of the table looks remarkably similar to the structural framework of Tesla’s 1900 tower, making it a kind of tribute.
Of course, that dream never materialised — and to us, more than a century later, the sight of a bare lightbulb glowing without a wire is still incredible. No word on if Dussopt plans on making more of the tables — which come with the caveat that you can’t put your other electronics nearby — but I’m guessing a few of you could probably make your own. [Florian Dussopt; DesignBoom]