Japanese inventor Susumu Suzuki claims to have found a solution to some of the world's energy problems (the AA-sized ones anyway), recently showing off his water-powered battery to Reuters
. The battery itself is made mostly of carbon-based compounds but is activated with only a tiny amount of water -- even licking it will apparently do. Fine on a small scale perhaps, although we'd be a little hesitant to pucker up to anything bigger than a D cell. (Yeah, we'll spare you the Sony jokes.) According to Suzuki, the water-based batts can be stored far longer than traditional batteries without degrading and also could cost about 1/10th the price of a normal battery if mass produced, all while still providing the same amount of juice as a standard manganese dioxide battery -- not to mention being less hazardous to the environment when disposed of. Whether it'll become the "essential tool" of the future Suzuki says it is, we'll just have to wait and see.