The colony of algae was enclosed in a unit the size of an AA battery. | Image: Paolo Bombelli / Creative Commons

Scientists have used algae to power a low-energy computer chip for six months.

Researchers from the University of Cambridge sealed a colony of cyanobacteria, commonly known as blue-green algae, inside a metal enclosure the size of an AA battery. The unit was then left on a windowsill, according to New Scientist, where the algae photosynthesized, generating a tiny current of electricity that powered an ARM Cortex-M0+ chip.

The system is only a proof of concept, but its creators hope algae-powered chips could be used in future Internet of Things devices. They say the advantage of using algae over traditional batteries or solar power is that it has a smaller environmental impact and could potentially provide continuous power.


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