I wasn’t planning on writing a post today, but I seem to be reaching my limit for useful novel-editing time a bit early today, and I don’t want to leave the computer just yet, so I’m going to bring to your attention what could, maybe, possibly, be the most important thing ever.
Read the article. Read it, damn you.
Now, the article interprets the practical application of these little bugs in computer screens and iPads and whatnot. This is pretty typical of the technological culture we’ve been living in for much of the last two decades – we discover a potential new source of energy, and the first thing we think of is a way we can harness it to play Angry Birds or listen to Devo. They toss off the line ‘you could use it to power your house by jumping up and down.’ Think about that for a second, though. You could power your house by jumping up and down!
A self-powered house! No power lines. No generators. All you need are special floors and something to compress them. You have those things already – they are called feet. You might not even need to jump up and down; you just walk around, and boom, electric power! HOLY CRAPBALLS! And what happens when the viruses die or run out of power or whatever (which is bound to happen), where can we get more? Oh, that’s right, they’re viruses! They specialize in reproducing! It’s all they freaking do!
Have you started to see how unbelievably revolutionary this might be? Whole cities could be powered by just layering portions of the sidewalk with these critters underneath touchplates. Your car could run on a layer of bugs built into the tires - you only ever refuel when you get new tires! Capacitors could be built all over the place, storing up any excess energy the little buggers produce as a result of millions of feet walking around on them all day and, therefore, power the world all night long. This technology could result in the whole world, essentially, being hooked up to a worldwide hamster-wheel of electric power, endless so long as we can keep those viruses alive and cooking. This is incredible. This is beyond revolutionary, if it proves to be practical. Right now, one square centimeter is equal to .25 AAA batteries. This seems to indicate 4 cm^2 would be 1 AAA battery. A square meter, then, 25 AAA batteries. You can run a lot of stuff off that. Keep engineering the buggers, and you might get more. Set up a system by which the used-up ones can be replaced with fresh viruses, and you could keep this going for a long, long time.
Obviously there’s a lot of practical improvements to be made, and we probably will see this begin in small ways–like a touch screen or something – but this invention has enormous potential for the science fictional worlds we will continue to imagine. I know I’m building one right now. I also know I’m not alone.