A Game Boy has been created that gathers all the power it needs to run from the sun and the quick push of a button - it doesn't run on batteries.
The original Game Boy was not bad at all in terms of battery life. With four simple AA batteries, you could play games like Tetris and Super Mario Land for about 10 to 15 hours. This is something that makes Game Boy much more attractive than its modern counterparts.
A team of researchers consisting of "computer scientists" from Northwestern University in Illinois and Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands has developed a Game Boy that uses no batteries at all.
Instead, all you need to play with this Game Boy, officially named Engage, is sunlight. The solar panels located on the front of the device are the main power source, with the buttons - if you are too fast to press the buttons - to help you produce extra power.
The system is not perfect and has some very important drawbacks. When it is cloudy outside, you can play with the Engage Game Boy for 10 seconds in a row before it needs to close for about a second. Also the sound system does not work at all. However, you can still keep playing games thanks to an innovative framework for storing its data systemic in memory that allows you to continue your game from exactly where you left off - even if the device.
Engage is a great start for them researchers. When they started creating their Game Boy, the Engage team wanted to show that it was possible to create an interactive device that did not need batteries. They know this is just the first step. You will need much more work before your Switch actually needs a battery to operate. But it is still an important step for the field of "intermittent computing".
"This could not have been possible four or five years ago," said Josiah Hester, one of the scientists who worked on the project. After presenting the foundings at the UbiComp conference on September 15, the researchers of the Engage team plan to continue working on the Game Boy project. One of the things they want to do is find a way to reduce power outages.