You've seen The Matrix, right? Of course you have. Remember laughing at the silly concept of turning people into batteries? Well, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology didn't feel the same way when seeing the film. They, in fact, decided to give our future robot overlords a head start and develop the technology for them.
They have developed a tiny chip that can harness the movements of the human body, both voluntary and involuntary, to produce electricity, like a series of very small generators. So far the technology has been able to power small LCD panels and diodes, and even send radio transmissions (after charging a cell first). That isn't where it stops, though. These guys want to be able to power everyday electronics with the technology.
Hit the break to hear what one of the researchers has to say about the project.
Dr Zhong Lin Wang, one of the team's researchers, says,
This development represents a milestone toward producing portable electronics that can be powered by body movements without the use of batteries or electrical outlets. Our nanogenerators are poised to change lives in the future. Their potential is only limited by one's imagination... If we can sustain the rate of improvement, the nanogenerator may find a broad range of other applications that require more power... Additional nanowires and more nanogenerators, stacked together, could produce enough energy for powering larger electronics, such as an iPod or charging a cell phone.
If this isn't fuel for the beginning of the robot revolution, I don't know what is. However, it is damn cool technology. This, combined with Wysip's solar LCD and Samsung's solar TV, we could be on our way to being entirely energy self-sufficient. Or, we could be on our way to being batteries.