Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

Japanese Inventor's Motor Uses 80% Less Power 1095

novakane007 writes "A Japanese inventor named Kohei Minato has created a new kind of motor. It uses magnetism to perpetuate the motor motion. As a result the motors uses 80% less energy than a conventional motor, while still maintaing the same horsepower. "Minato assures us that he hasn't transcended the laws of physics. The force supplying the unexplained extra power out is generated by the magnetic strength of the permanent magnets embedded in the rotor. 'I'm simply harnessing one of the four fundamental forces of nature,' he says." On top of the energy savings the motor runs cool to the touch and is significantly quieter than a tradtitionally powered fan. Sound to good to be true? Well he's already started selling the fan to a chain of convience stores in Japan. Hopefully soon the design will make it in to your home PC, allowing them to run much quieter."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Japanese Inventor's Motor Uses 80% Less Power

Comments Filter:
  • Quiet PCs? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by octalc0de ( 601035 ) * on Thursday April 15, 2004 @03:48PM (#8873617) Journal
    "Hopefully soon the design will make it in to your home PC, allowing them to run much quieter"

    What? I wasn't quite aware that computers generated their own power yet... Also, the article says the engines are quite large- probably impossible to be able to use them in a laptop setup. Plus, anyway, power supplies are quite quiet anyway, and they don't generate their own power. The problem with the noise from computers these days is unbearably loud hard drives and harsh fans.
  • The question is... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by cnelzie ( 451984 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @03:49PM (#8873633) Homepage
    ...can this be ramped up to larger scale? Like automotive motors.

    How long do these magnets last?

  • Re:Quiet PCs? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by molarmass192 ( 608071 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @03:54PM (#8873724) Homepage Journal
    You can buy pretty damned quiet PC fans, however, you're right that today's hard drives are louder than hell. Also, I'd bet that they generate a lot more case heat than they let on. That said, am I losing my mind or didn't I read back in 1993 that we'd all be using solid state hard drives by now??? Guess that was a sure thing in the days of $600 hard drives.
  • I've seen it (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Bobdoer ( 727516 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @03:54PM (#8873745) Homepage Journal
    I saw a similar effect on one of my brother's contraptions. Essentially, it was a roller skate wheel that had powerful magnets embedded in it. When it was spun, the magnetic field would act on a spool of wire underneath and create a charge that went into a capacitor. When tinkering with the thing, I found that one could take a magnet and place it a small ways away and that magnet would repel the other magnets on the wheel, making the thing spin longer for the same amount of energy. Later, my brother's acquaintance found a similar effect by placing the magnet on the bar that held the wheel up. I'm guessing that the process is more similar to the latter than the former.
    As all of these sorts of posts are appended IANAP, so I could be wrong.
  • by Spamalamadingdong ( 323207 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @03:56PM (#8873773) Homepage Journal
    I could probably make a device that could take 16 watts in and generate 300 volt-amperes (AC) out - but the volt-amperes would be almost 90 degrees out of phase, and the power factor would be less than 5%. The real power out of the device would be substantially less than 16 watts. There is no way in physics to have more than 1 watt out per watt in, "magical magnets" or no. If the device was extracting energy from the magnets, they would be depleted and the device would run down after a while. That's 2nd semester physics, basic E&M.

    Either the proponents of this device are complete incompetents, or they are complete frauds. I'm inclined to believe the latter, as incompetents tend not to have the sales skills evident in the article []

  • Possibly not... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Svartalf ( 2997 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @03:58PM (#8873814) Homepage
    Remember the laws in question only apply to closed system. Is his design a closed system? Like you said, there's conservation of energy- it can neither be created nor destroyed. It can only be converted from one form or another. It's a known fact that within a single cubic centimeter of volume resides sufficient instantaneous energy to condense out the entire rest-mass of the solar system and then some.

    While I am not saying that he's tapping that energy, what is to say that he isn't?

    You've got an interesting anomaly going on there with his engine- time to go find a new model for physics that jives with what we already know AND Minato's gaget.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 15, 2004 @04:01PM (#8873862)
    Sure. From the article, "With the help of magnetic propulsion, it is feasible to attach a generator to the motor and produce more electric power than was put into the device."

    You can stop reading right there. I think the "inventor" has found a way to manufacture venture capital using only magnets and bullshit.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 15, 2004 @04:02PM (#8873894)
    After reading the story about Kohei Minato's super-efficient motor, reader Chris Drake wrote in with this explanation:

    All Minato's power calculations appear to be wrong (apparently it's a common mistake many scientists make); you can't measure input power using a multimeter when the current drain isn't constant. You can see his workshop in his videos - all his calculations are done using common multimeters and a desktop calculator.

    Minato motors use an optical sensor to "switch on" the "stator" (electromagnet) for a fraction of each RPM, so he'd need an oscilloscope and some funky math to figure out how much current the motors are really sucking up (or a stopwatch; and wait for the driving battery to go dead, then estimate based on the battery capacity).

    It's still a super neat idea though - which seems to boil down to "drive motors from the outside using aligned permanent magnets and momentary pulses from the stator" instead of the traditional "sick the stator in the middle" idea.
  • by MyFourthAccount ( 719363 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @04:03PM (#8873905)
    So there's nothing real to be seen here. Move on.

    But, "In Japan, no one pays for 40,000 convenience store cooling fans without being reasonably sure that they are going to work."

    And if that didn't convince you:

    Hopefully soon the design will make it in to your home PC, allowing them to run much quieter.

    Because we all know that the noise generated by the fan comes from the motor and not from air hitting the fan.

    How can you contradict such a logical and fact laden article?
  • CompactFlash (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tepples ( 727027 ) * <tepples@gmail.BOHRcom minus physicist> on Thursday April 15, 2004 @04:05PM (#8873947) Homepage Journal

    didn't I read back in 1993 that we'd all be using solid state hard drives by now??? Guess that was a sure thing in the days of $600 hard drives. tells me I can get a CompactFlash card reader for USB for under 20 USD and a 2 GB CF card for under 200 USD. There also exist adapters to plug CF cards into ATA cables. It seems that the desire for more capacity in a 3.5" desktop HD enclosure has outpaced the desire for larger persistent solid-state memory in desktop machines.

  • Re:Possibly not... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BobTheLawyer ( 692026 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @04:06PM (#8873959)
    What's to say it isn't powered by giant invisible lamas?

    There is no "interesting anomaly", there's just a claim phrased in the language of junk science. We don't find new models for physics on the basis of undocumented, unreviewed, unrepeated claims.
  • by kmdani ( 188859 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @04:16PM (#8874151)
    Take your next hard drive and open it up. You'll most likely find that the strongest permanent magnets in your house are less that 1/2 inch away from your hard drive platters. I have taken the head actuator magnets and placed one on my palm and the other on the back of my hand, and the magnetic field was strong enough to hold them together.

    Granted they are set up in the drive to cancel each other out, but still... damn strong.
  • Space Cakes! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by OlivierB ( 709839 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @04:18PM (#8874177)
    Can you prove that there aren't chocolate cakes in orbit around Saturn?
    Well I guess that means that there are!

    Be real. Anybody who's done some basic maths knows that to prove something you need to prove that it ALWAYS works. As to prove something wrong you only need to prove it ONCE.

    Same thing for the burden of proof here.
    Imagine a world where everybody would be guilty else they prooved innocent. Things don't work that way thank god! Err wait...
  • Legal in U.S. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Euphonious Coward ( 189818 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @04:21PM (#8874246)
    Remarkably, it is not considered fraud to promote perpetual motion machines like this in the U.S. A century's worth of case law has established firmly that it's the investor's responsibility to discover the trick underneath, and the "inventor" can tell any lies he likes.


  • Re:Quiet PCs? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JPriest ( 547211 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @04:22PM (#8874251) Homepage
    Magnetic assist motors have been around for a while. They have traditionally been written off as not worth the cost and energy required to charge the magnets. A more efficient design this could be, but a ground breaking change in the world? Probably not.
  • by microwave_EE ( 768395 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @04:22PM (#8874257)
    I suppose that if he's quickly depleting the stored magnetic field on the permanent magnets that he could get out more electrical power than he put in, but that would only work for a couple rotations of the ol' motor. Aside from that, it don't matter which of the "four fundamental forces of nature" you harness, there ain't no cheating the laws of thermodynamics, even in convenience store cooling fans...
  • by AdamInParadise ( 257888 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @04:25PM (#8874313) Homepage
    Of course it is a violation. You can't get something for nothing. Energy is only transfered, it cannot be 'created'. Nuclear plants takes uranium and transform it into heat. A magnet is not a fuel because it does not contain energy. Magnetic fields decay because the material decays, not because they are 'used'.

    This definitely looks like a stupid scam.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 15, 2004 @04:28PM (#8874364)
    lol... fans use magnets now, as do almost al electric generators and components that convert electricity to motion...
  • Re:Quiet PCs? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nih ( 411096 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @04:29PM (#8874370)
    if you use the anti-vibration mounts @ unts the noise vanishes, or you can get the heatpipe cooler @ , btw the mounts can be ordered separately, just mail them for info, its also best to attach a drive with the heatpipe cooler to the base of the case, temp went from 50c to 35c.
  • by azav ( 469988 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @04:39PM (#8874531) Homepage Journal
    Here it is:

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 15, 2004 @04:56PM (#8874765)
    Now that's interesting. If there's one thing the patent office knows how to handle, it's inventions that claim to break the laws of thermodynamics. I have a friend in the patent office and he's told me a bunch of stories of clever prototypes with hidden batteries.

    I guess the trick is he's not claiming perpetual motion. As other posters suggested, the magnets might deplete very quickly. Although this whole thing is ringing a bell. I thought I read about this on another site and the explanation was that his method of taking measurments are wrong. He has to measure the drain over a period of time because of the peaks related to switching on and off or something like that. I'll see if I can find the link.

    Oh... here [] is is.
  • Re:Quiet PCs? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by the morgawr ( 670303 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @05:01PM (#8874820) Homepage Journal
    Motors are efficient enough (75-80% is typical for variable speed applications). Most of the losses involved are in storing and supplying the power. If you reduce input power to the motor by 80%, you just ended up with better then 100% efficiency, something that can't happen. See my post further down for my extrapolation of what this motor could actually be on a really good day

    To make a viable, sellable purely electric car, you need batteries that weight AT LEAST 1/4 as much and cost 1/10th as much as today's best.

    While we're at it, inventing power transistors that are nearly lossless would be nice, since switching losses are the other major diffuculty.

  • Re:Amazing idea (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 15, 2004 @05:04PM (#8874836)
    Oh, geez... World Trade Center... Enron... cue the violins, please, for the embattled family man who wants to make a difference in society. Pull my heartstrings, will you?
  • Re:Quiet PCs? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Carnildo ( 712617 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @05:14PM (#8874973) Homepage Journal
    if you use the anti-vibration mounts @ unts the noise vanishes, or you can get the heatpipe cooler @

    Or you can do what I did, and replace the metal mounting bracket with a cardboard one. Amazing noise reduction there, and the total expense was $0.
  • by fishybell ( 516991 ) <fishybell&hotmail,com> on Thursday April 15, 2004 @05:17PM (#8875003) Homepage Journal
    If you really want to know about breakthroughs in electric motor design, not just another free-energy scam, mosey on over to [].

    Raser Technologies recently (ie within the last year) introduced technology to convert existing electric motor designs to run not more effeciently, but more powerfully. Their patented (with a real US patent) design allows a motor to produce up to three times as much power than previously achievable. All electric motors can be "overdriven" to provide more power in short bursts. This technology (which they dub Symetron) allows the motor to run at those higher powers at a sustained rate without burnout or explosion.

    Unlike Kohei Minato, Raser Technologies has been to various trade shows, hosted several demonstrations and posts results done by 3rd party test facilities. Also unlike Japan Magnetic Fan Company, Raser Technology is a publicly traded company under the stock symbol RSTG.OB.

    Although not as revolutionary or jaw-droppingly-fake, this new technology does have a huge amount of practicle applications. For example, currently to run an electric car you need about a 50-HP motor. Here's an example of how big [] a motor that's rated for 50 horsepower continious usage can be (610 lbs). A counterexample would be this video [] from a trade show where Raser Tech runs a bus on 500 horsepower motor that is noticably smaller.

    Yes, these motors still have the same efficiency rating as the motors without the Symetron adjustment, but they are extremely small for their power ratings. The key is truly the power density.

  • by name_already_taken ( 540581 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @05:20PM (#8875032)
    The transformers and other inductors inside a modern PC power supply are quite small in comparision to the monster lumps of iron and copper found in the inefficient 1970's style linear power supplies.

    Additionally, the metal case of the PSU acts like a Faraday cage and keeps most of the magnetic fields inside the PSU, but it is mainly there to keep you from electrocuting yourself (PCs are one of those few items of consumer electronics that the consumer is expected to open up at some point).

    You'll note that all of the coils in a transformer are wound together closely - this is due to the strength of magnetic fields decreasing rapidly (faster than the inverse square law) as you move away from the source. You can't seperate the coils by much distance and "transfer all the hundreds of watts your PC needs through the air as a magnetic field". It just doesn't work like that.

    There is some electromagnetic noise from the power supply, but not very much really. Open up a piece of consumer electronics (like a Tivo or CD player for example) and you'll note that they didn't even bother to put any shielding around the PSU, because the magnetic field strength coming from it is really weak. How do they get away with it? The fields just aren't that big that they cause any problems with modern digital electronics.

    Open up a dead hard drive sometime and you'll find two really really strong magnets and an electromagnetic coil in the head actuator assembly, adjacent to the sensitive magnetic media. How do they get away with it? Simple, the field is really quite small.

    Unless your power supply includes the type of electromagnet used on a scrapyard crane, I wouldn't worry about it - the field is much smaller than you might think.

  • Re:Quiet PCs? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by SubtleNuance ( 184325 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @05:41PM (#8875281) Journal
    Id say electric cars ARE viable. Exccept that presnetly entrenched capital (oil/gas, Autos) will not commit and abring it to market.

    EV1 Gen2 w/ LithiumIon batteries wasnt even TRIED to be sold - GM brought it to market in order that they can show that it was unviable. 70% of people dont need a gas auto. 90% of people with 2 cars dont need a 2nd gas auto, an electric would do them just fine...

    The trouble with electric cars has nothing to do with technology and everything to do with momentum of the marketplace, lack of will on the part of regulators (or corruption if you prefer...) and plutocratic auto-industry and oil barrons.

  • Re:Loud HDDs? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by chrwei ( 771689 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @06:06PM (#8875547)
    Not sure what old skool drives you're using but the FDB drives are super quite, and not much more expensive than the others. The Seagate 120GB FDB drive I have is definatly the quietest moving part in my PC. I can't even hear it churning over the fan noise that's rated at a mere 28dB!

    I have an HDD activity light, I don't need to hear the drive... blinky lights are MUCH cooler than some grindy, clicky, whirly sounds anyway.

  • by slazar ( 527381 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @06:11PM (#8875590)
    This guy is putting energy into the machine every time his magnet moves. Attach it to a fixed position say with a clamp and it would not work. Take a look at this video [] of Minato and then read the explanation here []. You will need to search in your browser for minato because the page is long. Also you have to wait for the avi to completely download.
  • by BiggerIsBetter ( 682164 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @06:18PM (#8875632)
    Then why isn't it being used everywhere? Props to them if they've got something that good, but if I can't buy a motor then what's the point? Oh right, they're not interested in that, they want to sell "technology" not motors. Good for them, I'm sure they'll make their investors happy. He may not play the corporate America games, but at least this Japanese guy is actually putting his product on the shelf.
  • by latenightsoftware ( 771706 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @07:09PM (#8876172)
    By measuring Volts and Amps on one side and power on the other side, it is easier to convince the unsuspecting. By selling the simple DC calculation of Power = Volts*Amps = Watts, you can "prove" that more power is being generated. But of course, the calculations performed by an electrical engineer would yield a different result.
  • rasertech (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @08:31PM (#8876819) Journal
    i watched the video and i'll give them credit for having a good PR dept. BUT I can't seem to find a decent explanation of WTF they're doing thats so special.
    From the FAQ

    Q. How does the Symetron(TM) technology deliver better performance?
    A. Symetron(TM) motor technology is based on our work in advanced motor theory which is the basis for several proprietary design innovations that achieve dramatic increases in torque and power.

    Q. Can the Symetron(TM) Motor technology be copied or pirated easily?
    A. The Symetron(TM) motor technology is clearly unique compared to other electric motors. It is based on proprietary scientific principles with Patents applied [for]. No imitation motor can be built without direct infringement on patents.
    We know something you don't know
    Yes, but we'll sue them

    What worries me are phrases like "proprietary design innovations", "proprietary scientific principles", "strict confidentiality agreement", etc. I read their Press Briefing [], which left me more and less satisfied. The best i can piece together is that they've got better cooling, some special design tweaks and a "means for increased magnetic energy storage" The deeper you go the curioser it gets...

    Just for shits and giggles they make almost the same claims [] as our Japanese friend. "300% more power" anyone? Their SEC filings make for veryinteresting reading. they've only spent 600K on R&D since raser's inception, they haven't obtained patents yet (only applied for them), "Raser's auditor's report contains a "going concern" qualification", "Our officers have no long-term experience with electrical motor sales"... I just can't understand... If their tech is so mindblowing how come it isn't everywhere?

  • by scosol ( 127202 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @08:32PM (#8876826) Homepage
    Humor me if you will-
    (you seem knowledgable- and I'm a fairly intelligient guy but I can't seem to figure this out)

    Just imagine a simple dowel with 2 donut magnets on it, the top one opposed so it "floats".
    Because of the magnetic properties, aren't those magnets constantly exerting a force upon each other?

    I mean, the repelling force really does just "come from nowhere" Repelling magnets forced together will exert a constant force upon whatever is forcing them together.

    Does a "permanent magnet" actually ever lose its magnetic properties?
    I would assume so, but maybe not...

    Magnets, solely because of their properties, are able to exert forces upon each other.
    Is it really that much of a stretch to believe that with some sophiticated alignment of forces, and some sophisticated triggering of electromagnets to sweep through a cycle, that you couldn't create some "motor" that was basically powered by the permanent magnets?

    I can't believe I'm even contemplating a "free energy" device, but I can't quite figure out exactly what's wrong with it...

    My conservation-of-energy mind would say that the "permanent" magnets really aren't permanent, and they will lose their magnetism... but... ???

  • by sanity_slipping ( 514239 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @08:52PM (#8876949) Homepage
    I can't help but notice that you are not Chris Drake [], the person originally credited with this comment.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 15, 2004 @10:08PM (#8877430)

    The Lutec 1000 is claimed to be more than 100% eficient (lets see all those themodynamics laws thrown about now)

    I leave you with this question, how is it that an electro magnet can consume large amounts of power to keep a 10kg weight suspended, yet a permanent magnet can do the same job without consuming any power? This is the energy source they are using. The tough part is timing the "kick" to keep the motor from polling.
  • by sycomonkey ( 666153 ) on Friday April 16, 2004 @02:17AM (#8878641) Homepage
    It certainly doesn't seem like he's being deceptive. He may have just designed a highly effiecient motor (note that it still takes electricity to run, it's no perpetual motion machine). He may not even be fully sure what he's done, which is why some of his extrapelations on his current product get ridiculous. But the motors spin on less power, that in and of itself is something amazing...
  • by dublin ( 31215 ) on Friday April 16, 2004 @04:12AM (#8878971) Homepage
    This is the exact same argument every peddler of perpetual motion machines uses to claim that his invention is not a perpetual motion machine, but is somehow harnessing external power which is just hanging around out there to be used.

    The Earth's electromagnetic field is a popular choice among these hucksters. With this guy, it's magnets.

    I'm not so sure. I am normally extremely skeptical of such claims, and yes, I understand at least most of the implications of the laws of thermodynamics, and believe they hold true here, too. But at the same time, I've witnessed this effect myself, and so can you - it's easy. Either something strange, or the illusion of something strange, is going on, and I don't at this point pretend understand it all. Here's how you can see for yourself:


    Building "Colin Dublin's Batteryless Magnetic Motor"

    (Credit for "discovering" this particular arrangement must be given to my 9-year-old son, Colin, who came to me a few months ago claiming to have invented "a motor without batteries". An avid Junkyard Wars fan, he is continually trying to invent new motors and engines. (I guess it just runs in the family... ;-) ) While the gadget certainly does run down, it takes an unexpectedly long time to do so.)

    Go to the toy store and get one of those cool little magnetic construction sets that have a bunch of ball bearings and a bunch little plastic connector sticks with neodymium magnets molded into each end. (You really ought to have a set of these anyway, right? They're just too cool not to...) Now start building:

    1) Make a flat, regular pentagon, with 5 ball bearings connected by five sticks.

    2) Now tesselate the top by adding a stick from each of the pentagon's ball bearings to a sixth ball bearing above.

    3) Repeat the process to tesselate the bottom side, too. You should now have a polyhedron consisting of ten triangular sides, 5 top and 5 bottom, with your original pentagon in the middle. (If not, start over and try to figure out where my instructions are confusing you...)

    4) Stick a ball bearing onto another stick, and let that ball adhere to the top ball of your polyhedron. This is the "low friction bearing/axle" for the gadget. Note that there are two ball bearings stuck together here - that's important to keep the friction down.

    5) While holding the axle stick vertically in one hand with the polyhedron hanging under it, give the polygon a spin with the other hand. It will run down in a bit.

    6) Now spin it again, but this time, hold another magnet stick near (but not touching) the outer rim of the polyhedron as it spins. If you can do it steadily, without perturbing the spinning polyhedron too much, you'll feel and see it continue to spin far longer than you might expect.

    Depending on the polarities with which you assembled the thing, you can get a rather surprising sustaining effect at times, especially if you "alternate" the polarity of the tesselating sticks. Experiment to see what works best. Because the rim is five-sided, you'll have some point at which there are two balls of the same polarity, and this will make things bumpy. Try other shapes, too, if your set allows (some are better than others) - a hexagon, for instance. Have fun with the magnets; you might even learn something. And who knows, maybe you'll have a career option in Japan as a magnetic motor engineer...
  • by Zed Too ( 177545 ) on Friday April 16, 2004 @07:35AM (#8879575)
    Then it's simply a matter of getting the magnet "out of the way"

    I think that's likely to be a serious problem with your approach. Moving the magnet means you are doing actual work on the magnet itself, which would increase power consumption and reduce efficiency.

    And if you're thinking of interposing some sort of magnetic shield, that would itself be a physical object which would interact with the magnet, thus altering the work done and hence the power consumption. You would also be straying dangerously close to "perpetual motion machine" territory: see the write-up on magnetic shields at The Museum of Unworkable Devices [].

  • by GnuDiff ( 705847 ) on Friday April 16, 2004 @08:28AM (#8879793) Journal
    So, to sum the above comments. 1. The motor is assumed to be a hoax by people who take notice of the 330% efficiency mentioned. Which is pretty understandable. Nobody wants to rewrite the rules of physics that have served us so well so far (Note: "rules", not "laws"). 2. What Tom Bearden's highly interesting comment claims though (see somewhere in comments), is that the efficiency is gained by exploiting other source of energy. Ie. it is not 1 W input -> 2 W output, but rather: 1W input + X W other source -> 2 W output. In this case, the efficiency may well be very low actually, as long as most of it comes from a source that requires no cost from the user. Tom's post mentions an analogy with a windmill. You may well need electricity to run it, but basically you rely on wind, not electricity, to turn the blades. The inventor's motor is thus probably more adequately called a "magnetic"/"magneto"-motor rather than an electromotor. Some interesting texts to that effect are mentione d in the Flying Dutchman Project: including the instructions for building your own constructions that demonstrate the principle (and sound quite practical, at least in the post):

On a paper submitted by a physicist colleague: "This isn't right. This isn't even wrong." -- Wolfgang Pauli