Fans of effects pedal and amplifier maker Electro-Harmonix were left bemused, after an email was sent to mailing list subscribers outlining plans to harness the energy of Earth’s magnetosphere . Some have speculated that this was a marketing strategy for a new pedal. This is not the case.
Earlier today (July 23), subscribers to the EHX mailing list received an email with the subject line “He has 690,000,000,000,000 joules of unused continuous energy.” The same email was also posted as a page on the EHX website.
In the email, which is written in first person apparently from the point of view of EHX founder Mike Matthews, the energy source is described in more detail: the sun compresses the Earth’s magnetic field into it. bombarding with ions. This compression means that the magnetosphere is asymmetric: extending about 40,000 to 50,000 miles on the side of the Earth facing the sun and well over 2,000,000 miles on the side opposite the sun. Matthews and his colleague Robert Myer are working together on a method of converting the potential energy of the compressed side of the magnetic field into usable energy here on Earth.
He writes: “I am currently helping Bob build a system on Earth to stimulate and recover energy on Earth by means of an oscillation that would start in the magnetosphere, expand, shrink, and then enter the ionosphere to be recovered from almost a point. source on Earth.
A publication on the guitar effects subreddit, r / guitarpedals, links to the magnetosphere page on the EHX site. It’s titled “Something new from EHX coming in?” “, And the original poster wrote in the comments:” I received this cryptic email today. Anyone have any info / guesses? ”
A more in-depth discussion in the comments attempts to connect the discussion of a new energy source from space to guitar pedals.
” A diet ? A user advances, before another notes that the brand has just launched two new feeds. “Neither space nor the physics theme, so I don’t think they would do a great show on a third,” they wrote.
In particular, a user with the u / EHX_Engineering handle intervenes. They do indeed appear to work at EHX, as their posting history includes a list of jobs with the company and other details about EHX products. “I can assure you,” they write, “it has nothing to do with music.”
So, those who received the email or stumbled upon this page of the EHX website may stop speculating on a new space-themed reverb pedal. Case closed. Kind of.
The little question “what does Electro-Harmonix have planned for its new pedal?” overshadowed the much larger question of, well, everything else. Will an Effects Pedal Company be the One to End Earth’s Energy Problems? What do guitar effects and spatial energy have to do with each other? Will EHX stop making pedals to focus on harnessing energy from the magnetosphere?
In case it is not clear, the science of harnessing the energy of space is slightly outside of Guitar.comjournalistic wheelhouse. However, Mike Matthews’ description of the energy focusing process notes Robert Myer’s experience in (and patents to) amplification circuits as a key aspect. This is the same Robert Myer who designed the original Big Muff. Amplification technology has of course an important place in scientific signal processing as well as in musical signal processing.
Did it come out of nowhere? No. Mike Matthews has been interested in it for a long time. The number in the subject line of the email – 690,000,000,000,000 joules, or 6.9 × 10 ^ 14 – is taken from a letter Matthews wrote to NASA scientist David Stern in 1999. Matthews asked Stern how much energy would be found in the compressed side of the magnetosphere.
“I’m not going to calculate it here – it’s long and difficult,” Stern replied, “but [I’ll] just give you an order of magnitude estimate based on a formula that is really appropriate for a different case, and that isn’t even right there. The resulting calculation gives the figure 6.9 × 1014.
Guitar.com contacted Matthews to request more details on the email. He didn’t provide additional information on EHX’s energy research – “I can’t go into specifics,” he told us. It’s still unclear whether the energy-focusing technique was successful, or what prompted the email to be sent now.
However, Matthews has described to us in slightly simpler terms the nature of the energy that the technology will harness. “When you have a ‘compressed magnetic field’ (caused by constant bombardment of the magnetosphere by ions bursting from the sun (solar wind), it is a constant reservoir of energy.
“Think of a source. You stretch it… and if you let it go, it would come back.
Matthews also revealed that fans of the brand effects need not worry, because “Our main focus is still the Electro-Harmonix pedals. We have an in-depth design team and are working on a multitude of new pedals, from simple analog to complex new digital.
But, the project is still an aspect of what Matthews does. “Lowering the energy stored in the compressed magnetosphere is also of particular interest to us,” he told us. “Like a challenge.”
This is not the first time that Matthews’ interest in this topic has been made public. The magnetosphere is also not the only unconventional source of energy that Matthews looked at. A 2003 interview, alongside the exploitation of the magnetosphere, describes his interest in a new form of wind energy, using giant umbrellas. And, unconventional is certainly the word: the magnetosphere is not, as far as we know, currently viewed as a source of potential energy by anyone.
So what prompted the brand to contact its fans now on its energy research? Is a prototype or launch imminent? Or is the email just the result of EHX’s recent migration to a new website? We will have to wait and see. All we know is that alongside the Big Muff, the Memory Man and the POG, EHX is aiming a little higher …
Read the full article on the magnetosphere at ehx.com.