A team of scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, USA, have genetically engineered a harmless virus to convert mechanical energy into electrical energy. The breakthrough-technology essentially means that an electronic device could be charged via everyday actions such as typing, walking, or closing a door.
The scientists used the M13 virus- a harmless virus common in science labs. They found that the M13 virus was piezoelectric, meaning that it could create an electrical charge when it experienced mechanical stress (aka an act like typing). By genetically engineering the virus, the scientists were able to boost its charge and were able to create a ‘virus-powered LCD:
They took a multilayered film of viruses measuring 1 sq cm and sandwiched it between two gold-plated electrodes. These were connected by wires to a liquid-crystal display. When pressure was applied to the generator, it was able to produce up to a quarter of the voltage of a common battery. This was enough current to flash the number “1″ on the display.
More work is needed, but you may soon be able to power your computer by typing on a M13 coated keyboard!