We've seen nanotechnology used to improve on traditional batteries before
, but NASA now seems to be taking a slightly different tact, developing an actual "nanobattery" to provide power to other nanoscale devices. According to a recent patent application, its idea is to make use of the iron-containing protein ferritin (seen at right), which apparently has the innate ability to carry either a positive or negative charge. In practice, one layer of ferritin would simply be stacked with another layer carrying the opposite charge, effectively forming a battery just a few nanometers thick. The capacity could then be further increased by adding more layers of ferritin, with the battery still remaining "stable and robust." What's more, NASA says the whole the whole process can be done quickly and easily -- relatively speaking, of course.