Researchers at the University of Cambridge have used algae to power a computer continuously for a year. The system was a similar size to an AA battery and contained a non-toxic species of blue-green algae called synechocystis which "naturally harvests energy from the sun through photosynthesis". Made up of common, inexpensive and largely recyclable materials, the system "has potential as a reliable and renewable way to power small devices", say the English researchers. "This means it could easily be replicated hundreds of thousands of times to power large numbers of small devices as part of the Internet of Things." Cambridge-based microprocessor design company Arm collaborated with the researchers. "We were impressed by how consistently the system worked over a long period of time - we thought it might stop after a few weeks but it just kept going," says Dr. Paolo Bombelli of the university's department of biochemistry.

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