Piezoelectric Viruses Engineered viruses convert an applied force into electricity in a new piezoelectric device, the first to usea biological material. Courtesy of Seung-Wuk Lee/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Piezoelectric devices promise to draw power from your footsteps or heartbeat , change the channel on your TV, and com...plete all sorts of helpful tasks — but they generally work in the nano-mechanical realm, requiring synthetic materials to function. Now for the first time, scientists have built a piezoelectric device using biological materials — in this case, viruses. Future sneakers may come with a customized viral mat on the bottom, with millions of would-be pathogens working together to power your mp3 player.