May
17
2012

Powering the World's Cell Phones, One Marathon at a Time

Electricity from Viruses: Berkeley Lab scientists generate electricity using viruses.
Electricity from Viruses: Berkeley Lab scientists generate electricity using viruses.Courtesy Courtesy kso
Scientists from the Berkeley Lab have developed a way to generate electricity from viruses! Their method is based on the piezoelectric properties of the virus, M13 bacteriophage. Piezoelectricity is the charge that accumulates in certain solids when a mechanical stress is applied to them (squeezing, pressing, pushing, tapping, etc.) The scientists realized that the M13 virus would be a great candidate for their research because it replicates extremely rapidly (no supply problems here), it’s harmless to humans (always a good thing), and it assembles itself into well-organized films (think chopsticks in a box). It was these films that they layered and sandwiched between gold-plated electrodes to create their nearly paper-thin generator. When this postage stamp-sized generator was tapped, it created enough electricity to flash a “1” on a liquid crystal screen.

The potential here is that someday we could put these super-thin generators in any number of places, and harness electricity by doing normal, everyday tasks like walking or closing doors. I propose putting them in the shoes of marathon runners and then have cell phone charging stations along the route. Nothing is more maddening than waiting all day in the rain to get an action shot of your runner, only to find that your battery has since died by the time your slow-poke reaches the finish line. There’s always next year.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

PAMELA TERRY's picture
PAMELA TERRY says:

GREAT IDEA, NEW TECHNOLOGY IS ALWAYSA GOOD THING TO EXPOSE TO THE NEXT GENERATION.

posted on Thu, 06/21/2012 - 3:33pm
johnmarry89's picture
johnmarry89 says:

It’s simply amazing to read that someday we could put the super-thin generators in any number of places, and harness electricity by doing normal, everyday tasks like walking or closing doors. It will definitely bring a great revolution, save money and bring a positive change in the society.

Regards,
A&E Accessories

posted on Thu, 07/25/2013 - 5:05am
kim's picture
kim says:

it seems like every year technology gets bigger and bigger. i am excited to see what it will be like 20 years from now!!!!

posted on Fri, 12/13/2013 - 4:06pm

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