It will be one of the greatest pleasure in life if there is a handheld console that does not require charging or battery replacement, and now US and Dutch scientists have actually achieved this dream.
The united team between Northwestern University and Delft University of Technology has developed a battery-free handheld game console “Engage” that explores the limit of battery-free equipment through a solar panel and “button power generation”, for which the team has remastered a 8-bit Nintendo Game Boy processor that supports original game cartridges .
The research team pointed out that such approach requires enormous computational capabilities and power, though they had transformed the solar panel and the energy harvesting system that is compatible with the “buttons” of the capacitance since they wanted to attempt to create a battery-free handheld game console. Josiah Hester, associate professor of electrical engineering at the Northwestern University, commented that this is the first battery-free interactive device that collects energy through the player’s gestures, where the energy will be converted to power by merely pressing the buttons.
However, how many presses and how often the frequency are required to actuate the game? The research team commented that the interruption time cannot be more than one second, which makes it at least playable for games like Tetris, chess, and solitaire. This console may be able to hone the responsiveness of players, though it will not be capable of supporting games that focus on hand interaction like music games, which will require further study and optimization. Optimistically speaking, the console at least has a saving function, and weighs relatively light. The research team has developed a pristine hardware and software, as well as a saving technology, through the intermittent computing technology that saves the game progress constantly and also the moment before power abruption.
The research team hopes to develop a battery-free game console and reduce the dependency on batteries for humans. Przemyslaw Pawelczak, associate professor at the TU Delft Embedded Software Lab, commented that sustainable game will become a reality, and we have taken an important step, which is a comprehensive extrication from batteries.
- Battery-free Game Boy runs forever
- Battery-free retro Game Boy runs on solar power and button mashing
(Cover photo source: TU Delft)