Battery-Free Game Boy Powered by Force of Mashing Buttons
A team of computer scientists have spent their year working on the world’s first battery-free Game Boy.
The device, CNET reports, is a faithful recreation of the 1989 Nintendo Game Boy, with one key difference: Instead of AA batteries, the handheld gaming system is powered entirely by tiny solar panels and the force of a heated gamer mashing the buttons. Just like the Game Boy was a breakthrough in mobile gaming, the scientists hope that they too can spark a revolution in battery-free technology.
Playing the device — called the Engage — isn’t quite up to the standard of an authentic Game Boy, even though it can play the classic console’s entire library of games. That’s because its very limited power necessitates a tiny screen, no speakers, and just a few seconds of life without constant button-mashing.
“We’re really making a huge leap towards useful and usable systems that are built upon this foundation of intermittent computing,” Delft University of Technology computer scientist Przemyslaw Pawelczak told CNET.
Save States Enabled
Those limitations are by design, CNET reports, and the team found a way to make the console autosave your progress at the exact moment before it dies. Press a few buttons and the game springs back to life at the exact moment you left it. That’s great for games like Tetris, but more of a disruption for games like the Pokémon series that don’t require button mashing.
What remains to be seen, however, is how the notoriously-litigious Nintendo will react after the team presents the Engage at a research conference next week.