I saw this catchy headline over at Scientific American: Tree Electricity Runs Nano-Gadget. Apparently the headline was inspired by research reported in the IEEE’s Transactions on Nanotechnology by researchers from the University of Washington in Seattle who discovered they could derive enough electricity from a maple tree to run a device, as long as that device had dimensions of 130 nanometers.Now I get why a science publication would pick this up as a cute little story to entertain its readers and even its listeners (it is accompanied with a podcast), but I am trying to figure out if there is any larger goal aimed at by the researchers. I admittedly could not locate the experiment on the IEEE Transactions on Nanotechnology website to determine what the greater purpose was. But I have been thinking that if you were able to hook up all the trees in the state of Washington into one macroscale device you might be able to power something like an iPod for an hour or so. Might make for an interesting experiment.
Dexter Johnson is a contributing editor at IEEE Spectrum, with a focus on nanotechnology.
The Conversation (0)