Did you mother ever tell you not to stare at the microwave?
She could have been on to something - there can be enough energy leaking from it to power a kitchen timer.
Researchers from the University of Tokyo examined the feasibility of harvesting power from a regular microwave by using an antenna that converts microwave energy into direct current electricity.
At five centimetres from the devices door it gathered enough power in two minutes "to be sufficient for the operation of some of low-power kitchen tools".
The researchers write:
When a microwave oven is operated for 2 min, 9.98 mJ of energy was harvested. We demonstrated that this energy is sufficient for powering a digital cooking timer to count down for 3 min and beep for 2.5 s. The operation of other kitchen devices was also demonstrated.
They do not state however, if this is enough to fry your eyballs as you wait for your dinner...