It all sounds a little science fiction, but according to scientists at MIT it seems that a virus powered iPhone, laptop and even car are all possibilities stemming from research they have been doing.

Although the potential for building batteries from viruses was discovered a few years ago, the MIT team behind the research now reckons that it has progressed to a point where the material being produced is powerful enough to power a car.

What they have done is use viruses to create both the negative and positive charged anodes and cathodes that make up the component parts of any battery. The ground-breaking use of genetically engineered viruses to create the anode and cathode of an otherwise standard lithium-ion battery could mean a much quicker and cheaper manufacturing process.

The common bacteriophage, a virus which is totally harmless to humans and only infects bacteria, has been genetically modified in order to grow into a nanowire anode only one tenth the width of a human hair.

The breakthrough, however, has been in getting the virus to grow the cathode part of the battery. The BBC reports that researchers have managed to coax the virus "into binding with iron phosphate and then carbon nanotubes to create a highly conductive material."

There are some problems that still need to be ironed out though, battery life being the main one. Currently the virus battery can only run through 100 charge/discharge cycles before it starts losing power.

However, the idea that a battery that uses no toxins in manufacture is certainly appealing as is the idea of running your computer on a virus rather than a virus running on your computer.

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