Lamp and Static Electricity – Part 2

So my previous blog entry generated quite some buzz, mostly about my facial hair. But Xyon and I discussed it for some time and it might have to do with induction, because there is a metallic bar the runs below the lamp underneath the desk. I’ve taken a picture to show it in more detail:

lamp and glass desk

As you can see, nothing is really touching the lamp and the lamp sits firmly on the glass desk. The only metallic parts of the desk is the frame and the keyboard tray. The electric cord is insulated and connects directly into a surge protector below. We thought maybe the static electricity jumped from the metallic bar below, through the glass, and into the lamp.

On Howstuffworks, they have an article on How do touch-sensitive lamps work? They suggest 3 methods on how touch sensitive lamps work:

  • Temperature
  • Resistance
  • Radio reception

However, none of those methods really explain how static electricity turned it on. I’m really tempted to take apart my lamp now to figure out what’s going on.

Update: I knew there was a few things I forgot to mention.

The trick isn’t limited to just my keyboard tray. I can touch any metallic part of the desk (such as the the legs) with static electricity and it has the same effects on the lamp. However, touching the glass doesn’t have any effects. I guess the static electricity in that case never leaves me.

I also found out it was less painful to use my toe/feet to transfer the static electricity. It didn’t really hurt my fingers/hands, but I definitely felt something strong when using my fingers. Maybe the skin on my toes are just thicker or maybe my nerves down there aren’t as sensitive, but I hardly feel anything when using my feet.

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