The time’s tear Game Boy (GB) is the popular handheld game console of Nintendo in the 1990s.
Now, engineers and scientists have created a GB that can be played forever without charging or battery. Of course, it is not just for childhood feelings – it is not a toy. Researchers at North-western University and TU Delft in the Netherlands have used it as a prototype to demonstrate a powerful design concept that pushes the boundaries of battery-free intermittent computing to the realm of entertainment and interaction.
Instead of expensive and environment-damaging batteries that eventually need to be processed, collect energy from the sun and the user. These advanced technologies will keep the game going forever.
Josiah Hester of North-western University, who corporately led the study, said: “This is the first battery-free interactive device that takes energy from a user’s movements. When you press the action button, the device converts this energy into the power needed for the game.”
Przemyslaw Pawelczak of TU Delft says: “Sustainable gaming will become real and we are taking an important step in that direction - getting rid of batteries completely. We wanted to make a statement that it was possible to build a sustainable gaming system that would bring joy and good memories to users.”
Hester is an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering and computer science at northwest McCormick School of Engineering. Pawelczak is an assistant professor at TU Delft’s Embedded Software Lab. Their team included Jasper de Winkel and Vito Kortbeek, both are Ph.D. students.
The researchers’ energy efficient ENGAGE frame is about the same size of the Game Boy’s and has an array of solar panels around the screen. User pressing energy is the second kind of supplementary energy. Most importantly, these non-battery features are sufficient to support the Game Boy processor. Although the solution requires a lot of computing power, it allows any classic game popular that year to be played directly from the original cassette.
GB does have a transient power loss when switching power types. To ensure the game’s duration, the researchers redesigned the system’s hardware and software from the start, making it more energy saving and efficient .They have also developed a new technique for storing system state in non-volatile memory to minimize energy costs and ensure direct access to the nodes of the last game. This eliminates the need for “save” on traditional platforms.
If the weather is bad, games that require at least moderate clicks typically break every 10 seconds for less than a second. The researchers found this to be an acceptable scenario for some games (including Chess, Solitaire and Tetris), but less friendly for action games.
TO get away from battery completely, there is still a long way to go. But the researchers expect their device will be a revelation. Batteries are expensive, harmful to the environment and must eventually be replaced by new technologies.
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