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Scientists Made a Virus That Can Charge Your Batteries

By - Source: Berkeley Lab | B 42 comments

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have found a way to exploit the harmless kind of organisms that usually make you sick to charge your gadgets.

The researchers said they have successfully engineered viruses that create electricity in response to mechanical stress. In an experiment, they coated a stamp-sized electrode with the virus, which then generated electricity as soon as the scientists tapped the surface of the stamp. This current design, the first product that uses the piezoelectric properties of a biological material, produces enough energy to power a small LCD. Future designs could be integrated, for example, in shoes or clothing - or common movable objects such as doors or wheels - to create much more energy, power gadgets or charge their batteries.

"More research is needed, but our work is a promising first step toward the development of personal power generators, actuators for use in nano-devices, and other devices based on viral electronics," says Seung-Wuk Lee, a faculty scientist in Berkeley Lab's Physical Biosciences Division and a UC Berkeley associate professor of bioengineering.

The initial results of the research is published in the a May 13 advance online publication of the journal Nature Nanotechnology. The research is quite apparently in its very nascent stages, but creating electricity from kinetic energy is a wildly popular research topic these days and this one clearly shows promise, as long as the viruses are as harmless as the researchers say.

Virus Power

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  • 25 Hide
    curiosul , May 18, 2012 6:36 PM
    Am I the only one noticing this doesn't make sense:

    "the harmless kind of organisms that usually make you sick"

    ?
  • 19 Hide
    fatality1515 , May 18, 2012 6:44 PM
    "...have found a way to exploit the harmless kind of organisms that usually make you sick to..."

    If it usually makes you sick, it's not harmless is it?
  • 16 Hide
    sinusoid , May 18, 2012 6:07 PM
    piezoelectric sidewalks, floors, roads, etc. would be awesome. Do it without the virus though. We don't want 'Legend" to happen.
Other Comments
  • 6 Hide
    Northwestern , May 18, 2012 6:05 PM
    I don't think my health is worth the risk of charging my battery.
  • 16 Hide
    sinusoid , May 18, 2012 6:07 PM
    piezoelectric sidewalks, floors, roads, etc. would be awesome. Do it without the virus though. We don't want 'Legend" to happen.
  • 14 Hide
    dark_knight33 , May 18, 2012 6:17 PM
    Seems like there'd be a good market in the sex toy industry for this. Lots of "mechanical stress", portable power needed, and latex to prevent viral transmission. Perfect if you ask me.
  • 1 Hide
    Hellbound , May 18, 2012 6:31 PM
    What are the chances of Marin County being invaded by chimps over this?.. lol
  • 25 Hide
    curiosul , May 18, 2012 6:36 PM
    Am I the only one noticing this doesn't make sense:

    "the harmless kind of organisms that usually make you sick"

    ?
  • 6 Hide
    igot1forya , May 18, 2012 6:40 PM
    Imagine if every key on your keyboard had one of these? Just imaging the possibilities!
  • 19 Hide
    fatality1515 , May 18, 2012 6:44 PM
    "...have found a way to exploit the harmless kind of organisms that usually make you sick to..."

    If it usually makes you sick, it's not harmless is it?
  • -9 Hide
    rdzona , May 18, 2012 6:51 PM
    curiosulAm I the only one noticing this doesn't make sense:"the harmless kind of organisms that usually make you sick"?


    I saw that too, LOL. You're not the only one, you're just the one out of the 8 people that commented. Wow you're so rare. /sarcasm
  • 6 Hide
    syrious1 , May 18, 2012 7:03 PM
    one step closer to the zombie apocolypse
  • 4 Hide
    dimar , May 18, 2012 7:10 PM
    I guess this could be a good explanation for zombies rising from the dead, in the upcoming zombie movies..

    Electrical charge keeps them alive, but fries their brain tissue, which is why they have to replenish it :-)

    :heink: 
  • -5 Hide
    AstroTC , May 18, 2012 7:20 PM
    This is dangerous on sooo many levels..
  • 4 Hide
    porkfist , May 18, 2012 7:23 PM
    I must be missing something. I don't see anything wired to the LCD screen. How does the electrical charge get there?
  • 3 Hide
    Murissokah , May 18, 2012 7:52 PM
    Tony Stark has just fired his doctor.
  • 7 Hide
    drakefyre , May 18, 2012 7:59 PM
    curiosulAm I the only one noticing this doesn't make sense:"the harmless kind of organisms that usually make you sick"?


    There are harmless kinds of viruses.
  • 7 Hide
    stevo777 , May 18, 2012 8:11 PM
    This research seems like a good premise for a horror movie.
  • 11 Hide
    classzero , May 18, 2012 8:23 PM
    Brought to you by the Umbrella Corporation -Our Business is Life itself.
  • 10 Hide
    Tab54o , May 18, 2012 9:46 PM
    Just because its a VIRUS doesn't mean its compatible with human cells people.
  • -4 Hide
    snowzsan , May 18, 2012 10:35 PM
    Tab54oJust because its a VIRUS doesn't mean its compatible with human cells people.


    You do realize that viruses mutate rather quickly, right? So if it's not compatible with human cell/tissue right now, what makes you think that putting in our day to day devices (so constantly having it around us) wouldn't cause it to mutate?

    This has global catastrophe written all over it. I don't know how our best and brightest come up with some of the stupidest ideas.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , May 18, 2012 10:38 PM
    Hikes! The Umbrella Corporation IS HERE! :-)
  • 1 Hide
    j2j663 , May 18, 2012 10:46 PM
    I don't see why everyone is complaining. There are things going on in Labs across the world that are hundreds of time more dangerous than this is.
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