open door of microwave oven

Microwave ovens are one common product that use a Faraday cage. Instead of keeping microwaves out, they force them into a small cooking chamber that “nukes” your food.

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Cutting-edge Cages

Swing by a hospital and you'll find Faraday cages in the form of MRI (magnetic resonance scanning) rooms. MRI scans rely on powerful magnetic fields to create medically useful scans of the human body. MRI rooms must be shielded to prevent stray electromagnetic fields from affecting a patient's diagnostic images.

There are plenty of political and military uses for Faraday cages, too. Politicians may opt to discuss sensitive matters only in shielded rooms that can block out eavesdropping technologies. All modern armed forces depend on electronics for communications and weapons systems, but there's a catch --these systems are vulnerable to aggressive EMPs (electromagnetic pulses), which can be a result of a solar storm or even man-made EMP attacks. To safeguard critical systems, militaries sometimes use shielded bunkers and vehicles.

It's for this same reason that Faraday cages are a fond subject in the survivalist subculture. These people, who preach self-sufficiency and mistrust of governmental response in the face of human-caused or natural disasters, believe in shielding all important electronics using homemade Faraday cages. In the event that an apocalyptic cataclysm strikes, they'll still have their shortwave radios and other high-tech tools that could be lifesavers.

Even if you're not particularly concerned with doomsday scenarios, Faraday cages likely play a role in your life every day. These cages harness a basic principle of physics and help people all over the planet put those principles to use -- for safety, luxury, convenience and to help further evermore exciting technological advances.