See, I don't get just rejecting it out of hand just because it could be beyond current (Pun incidental and unavoidable) explanations.
While the odds are huge that it is basically a case of accidental sleight of hand and there is a draw where there appears to be a gain, as a skeptic and knowing that the rules of physics as we understand them have had to be revised before due to breakthroughs, I have to keep an open mind as to the possibility he has something.
Bloody unlikely? Hell yeah. Possible? As possible as DNA.
I'll wager that I'm the least informed in physics out of all the commenters here. In any case, I was glad to see your willingness to consider the highly unlikely, extremely thin, but still existence possibility that this may be something new. It may not be what the inventor believes it to be, but it could still be new, or useful, or both.
And I'll really glad that the MIT professor was willing to take a look.
The real question is: Does it degauss the permanent magnet?
Remember the Irish guys last year who were going to submit their 'perpetual motion' machine based on permanent magnets to study by actual scientists? They pulled out at the last minute stating that there were problems with their device.
The problem was that the device did actually work, but the energy required to make it work came at the cost of the magnets degaussing. As a result the machine they had been demonstrating to the press ran slower and slower and finally stopped before the scheduled date they were to turn it over to the scientists.
Nothing is free. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Yadda yadda...
Can't find the discussion forum where someone was talking about how it actually ran down on them and how they responded when it happened. I do remember that posters were about evenly split between believers in free energy, skeptics who thought the Steorn engineers were honestly surprised to find out about the degaussing, and cynics who thought they were peddling snake oil all along...