Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology say they have harnessed the replicating instincts of viruses to build a tiny, flexible battery that someday could power a battle suit and give a soldier the strength to flip a Humvee. The battery, created with the help of US Army funds, sits on a thin, clear polymer that can be twisted and rolled like plastic wrap, said the lead researcher, Angela Belcher. A study on the project appeared in the April 7 issue of the journal Science. ”There’s a need to streamline not just what soldiers carry but also their power sources,’ said Franklin Hadley, spokesman for the Army-backed Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies at MIT, which helped fund the project. ”We want to remove a lot of the stuff on their back and put it into a unified battle suit.’ Tiny ”nanowires,’ one ten-thousandth the width of a human hair, run the polymer’s surface and act as electrodes, the MIT study says. Each wire is a byproduct of benign viruses that have been genetically altered to string metal molecules along the polymer as they replicate. By manipulating a few genes inside viruses, the MIT team is able to […]

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