The Nintendo Game Boy, in all its variants, ran on external batteries, either of the AA or AAA variety. But now, researchers have managed to make one that doesn’t run on any of them. It runs instead on a combination of sunlight and button presses.
Researchers from Northwestern University in Illinois and the Delft University of Technology in Netherlands developed the proof of concept. They call their battery-free Game Boy the Engage. And when they say there are no batteries, they really mean it. And it comes with all the drawbacks that comes with it.
For one, even in optimal conditions, the Engage Game Boy lasts for about 10 seconds before it needs to charge for a second. Beyond sunlight, it is also powered by your button presses. So if you’re playing a game that needs intense button mashing, then perhaps you can play the Engage for a little longer.
In the event the power does go out, the researchers have put quite the amazing save state system. It’s a lot like the kind of save states you find on emulators. This is so that you can just continue where you left off every 10 or so seconds.
Of course, another problem with this is that it doesn’t play any sound.
As stated earlier, the Engage Game Boy is just a proof of concept, so it won’t ultimately be something you can buy. The ultimate plan is to get this tech to be viable to modern and sophisticated devices like the Nintendo Switch.