Intel Turns Water Into Electricity

On Thursday, September 12th, Intel showed off a low-power communications research project at the firm’s Intel Developer Forum (IDF), which uses wine to charge mobile devices.

The project was demonstrated by Dr Genevieve Bell, Intel’s forward thinking anthropologist executive who has been studying ways to solve the chipmaker’s mobile computing problems.

“Some people turn water into wine, here at Intel we’re turning wine into electricity,” – Bell

Demonstrating what is probably the perfect solution for energy conscious winos out there, an Intel Labs researcher talked through the project on stage alongside Bell, showing off a low-power processor and an accelerometer that were powered by a glass of wine.

“Here’s a peek inside the Intel Labs that might redefine what you think low power really is. Here I have a low-power communications solution, a low-power processing solution and an accelerometer,”

“When I talk about low-power you might think low-power as in one watt or two watt solutions you find in a phone. Today I’m not here to talk about Watts, or milli-Watts, but I’m here to talk about micro-Watts.”

The researcher – we didn’t catch his full name – boasted that the computing solutions being worked on in Intel Labs are so low in power that in the future we’ll be able to “power them by the heat of our skin, or the ambient light in the room”, or “something a little more entertaining”, he added, pointing at the wine glass hooked up to the accelerometer.

Referring to the old school lemon copper trick, the Intel Labs staffer took a big red bottle, poured some wine into the glass, attached some copper and some zinc, and performed an experiment that was not dissimilar to what most of us probably did in high school with lemons and copper electrodes.

Doing this showed the accelerometer data being transferred from the processor and sent to a computer, with a flower rendering on the computer, demonstrating the concept of powering a computing operation with what was left over from last night’s dinner.

According to Intel, the experiment showed that “low-power doesn’t actually mean low performance”.

“It’s possible to start to imagine a world of incredibly low power but also with high performance, which will help unburden us, help us do things that are remarkable and gives the ability to power things like constant sensing, communication, and computing – all of which are necessary for our mobile future,”

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