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The Mystery of Touch Lamps
If you’ve ever wondered how a touch lamp works, you might want to hold on to your socks – because this kind of science could blow them right off.
Believe it or not, touch-sensitive lamps are controlled by the electric current in your own body. It may be hard to imagine, but you – dear reader – are a very electrifying individual.
In fact, everything you do involves utilizing an electric charge. The “energy levels” we so often associate with food and exercise has a direct electrical correlation, even when you’re not doing anything. At rest, the human body idles at about 100 watts of power, which is more than enough to zap on a table lamp.
There are a few different ways touch-lamp technology uses this power to control the lamp, such as responding to changes in temperature, radio-wave reception and resistance, but regardless of the trigger it all comes down to <em>capacitance</em>. Your capacitance is your ability to deliver a charge that closes (or opens) a circuit in the <a title="Lamps" href="http://www.atgstores.com/lamps_869.html?linkloc=topnav" target="_blank">lamp</a> to turn it on or off.
<strong>… is just another word for magic.</strong>
The technology is inexpensive and most any metal lamp can be converted to respond to touch with a “touch-control box,” but the mechanism is still pretty amazing. When you were a kid and couldn’t help but be dazzled by touch lamps, you probably noticed that you could turn them on and off <em>through</em> other objects – like a potato … or your grandma's cat.
That’s because those objects allowed you to pass your electrical current through them and to the lamp. The cat alone would probably not have the capacitance to switch on the lamp, but organic things often present low resistance, which is a fancy way of saying that current passes easily between them. In other words, your awesome pet can act as a conduit for electro-magnificence … but you probably already knew that.
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