Ada Genavia
May 18, 2012

Tiny devices harvest electrical energy from everyday tasks

Clean energy development is proving to be a more innovative reality at the Lawrence Berkeley Lab. Scientists have developed a way to generate power using harmless viruses that convert mechanical energy into electricity. The technology is realized with a generator that produces enough current to operate a small liquid-crystal display. By tapping a finger on a tiny electrode coated with specially engineered viruses, an electric charge is generated. This generator is the first to produce electricity by harnessing the piezoelectric properties of a biological material. This could ultimately lead to the development of miniscule devices that can harvest technology from the vibrations of everyday tasks. This milestone also leads the way to make microelectronic devices harnessing the viruses' ability to arrange themselves that enables the generator work. Self-assembly is a valued aspect in the world of nanotechnology.