Viruses have plagued humanity for millennia, but now they've been tapped to build batteries that can be sprayed onto uniforms.
Viruses are harnessed to produce parts for lithium-ion batteries.
One virus made the anode, another, the cathode.
Battery parts could be eventually grown in tobacco plants or sprayed onto clothing.
Batteries, built by viruses, could someday be sprayed onto military uniforms as wearable power sources.
Teams of researchers, one from MIT, one from the University of Maryland, have used two different viruses to create the cathode and anode for a lithium ion battery.
If the Maryland research pans out, the parts for lithium ion batteries could be grown in and harvested from tobacco plants. The MIT research, meanwhile, could produce lithium ion batteries that could be woven into clothing to power a wide range of electronic devices, from unmanned aerial vehicles to cell phones.
"Typical soldiers have to carry several pounds of batteries. But if you could turn their clothing into a battery pack, they could drop a lot of weight," said Mark Allen, a postdoc in Angela Belcher's lab at MIT. "The same could be true for frequent business travelers, the road warriors."