Yeah, sure, if nanotechnology gets out of control it could lead to a scenario where the entire world turns into gray goo. But if it DOESN’T get out of control, it could lead to a scenario where you can charge your iPod by snapping your fingers — or even just with your heartbeat. WORTH IT WORTH IT TOTALLY WORTH IT

The secret to a iPod powered by finger wiggles — or other body movements, like walking or breathing or heartbeat — is nanogenerators, dinky little microchips powered by wires 1/500th the width of a human hair. Five of them would cover an area only a little bigger than a postage stamp, and generate as much voltage as two AA batteries.

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Dr. Zhong Lin Wang, the Georgia Tech scientist who this week presented the first viable nanogenerator, believes they could be commercially available in five years — by which point they might pack even more punch. In the six years they’ve been working on nanogenerators, Wang’s team has made the chips thousands of times more powerful and able to produce 150 times as much voltage.

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