The gospel about windmills is that bigger is better. And there are advantages to building bigger windmills: As they grow, the energy they produce increases exponentially, because physics. But two researchers at UT-Arlington went the other way, and made micro windmills so small they’re “a tenth the size of a grain of rice,” Raw Story says.

When a windmill is that tiny, wind comes easy — you could just wave your hand over these things and the movement in the air would send them spinning. Here’s how the researchers imagine this would work:

“Imagine that they can be cheaply made on the surfaces of portable electronics,” Chiao said, “so you can place them on a sleeve for your smart phone. When the phone is out of battery power, all you need to do is to put on the sleeve, wave the phone in the air for a few minutes and you can use the phone again.”

We want this to happen because, at the very least, it would be funny to see everyone walking down the street waving their phone in the air frantically. Also, we are trying to catch a nanoscale Don Quixote.

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