Tiny Batteries Made out of Viruses

Breaking news from the world of nano/bio-technology: Viruses can now power small devices.

Researchers trying to make tiny machines have turned to the power of nature, engineering a virus to attract metals and then using it to build minute wires for microscopic batteries.

The resulting nanowires can be used in minuscule lithium ion battery electrodes, which in turn would be used to power very small machines, the researchers report in Friday’s issue of the journal Science.

This is an interesting concept–a great alternative especially in light of the search for the perfect energy source for portable/mobile devices. There are already power cells based on chemical and solar energy (there’s even a battery powered by urine!). But this one’s in my list of potentially scary technologies, right up there with artificial intelligence and nuclear-powered personal gadgetry. I mean, once these viruses get out of control, there’s no saying what could happen. Would you honestly feel comfortable having a virus-powered pacemaker? What if the virii somehow escape from the device into your bloodstream? Or what about a virus-powered hearing aid? I certainly wouldn’t want virii to travel through my ear canal into my brain!

Okay, farfetched, maybe. But I guess these are just questions you’d expect from such a novel idea.

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