The gaming industry is getting in on the green revolution. A new Game Boy prototype is battery-free and sources its energy from the sun and from users themselves. Created by researchers at Northwestern University and the Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), the new gaming console actually powers itself using the energy from users pushing buttons.
The new console is about the same size as the original Game Boy and will be presented virtually at UbiComp 2020. The device has a set of solar panels around the screen to capture solar energy and harnesses energy from the gamer’s own thumbs. Co-leader of the research Josiah Hester explains, “When you press a button, the device converts that energy into something that powers your gaming.” The new console also impersonates the Game Boy processor allowing any popular retro game to be played directly from its original cartridge.
There are still some kinks to be worked out before the console is up to state-of-the-art gaming standards. The console still has about one second of gameplay interruption for every ten seconds played. It works well for low-speed games like solitaire and chess but needs some more fixes before it’s ready for high-intensity play.
Traditional gaming consoles use batteries that wear down over time and are environmentally taxing. Once perfected, this greener gaming device will be a solution for reliable, eco-friendly entertainment. “We want to build devices that are more sustainable and can last for decades,” said Hester.