To Generate Electricity, Just Tap on this Virus

Allison Guy
May 18th 2012

Is your friend impatiently tapping on her phone, or is she just charging the battery? Researchers at the Berkeley Lab have produced the first virus-powered generator that runs off taps. The device takes advantage of a special characteristic of certain viruses, piezoelectricity, that converts movement into electrical energy. By tapping on a small electrode coated in harmless viruses, the scientists were able to produce enough energy to power a liquid-crystal display. The viruses, which self-assemble into a thin, organized film, may also pave the way for simplified electronics manufacturing.

This technology could potentially generate electricity from any object that's subject to motion or vibration: Doors in apartment buildings, busy sidewalks and roads, even the soles of shoes. There's stranger, next natural applications to consider as well. What about tiny surveillance devices that run on pigeons' flapping wings? Or streetlights powered by leaves as they shake in the wind? Whatever the outcome, this piezoelectric generator represents a step away from mechanistic thought, and towards a more ecological approach to design.

Via Berkeley Lab.

Share your thoughts and join the technology debate!public: 1

Be the first to comment

What is your view on the coronavirus?


Ine Geevers: #YesNaturally was about co-evolution and partnership. How to become friends with o.a. bacteria, microbes and viruses. Because yes, they can be deadly and vital at the same time.

Comment
Already a member? Login.