Written by Reena Karasin
What if you could harness the air around you to power your cell phone? You’d never have to find a wall outlet, or dispose of a near-unrecyclable battery. You could power your most-used electronic in a truly renewable way.
It sounds incredible, even impossible—and when researchers stumbled onto the core of this revolutionary technology, no one could believe it.
Scientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have been studying a bacteria species called Geobacter, which has hairlike protein nanowires, for decades. One day, when a researcher turned off the power supply to some nanowires that were being tested as sensors, an electric current still showed on the meter.
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