MIT developing an "engine on a chip" to beat the battery

After busting out those floating windmills earlier today, you'd think the MIT types would take a little break, maybe relax for a nice evening of D&D, but instead they're still hard at work, bringing power to the people. This time they're thinking small, with a new gas-turbine engine the size of a quarter designed to supplement or replace the battery in consumer electronics. The new "engine on a chip" technology builds all the traditional parts of a gas-turbine engine using silicon, allowing for utterly tiny, reliable and efficient components. The turbine blades spin at 20,000 revolutions per second, and the mini-generator produces 10 watts of power once up and running. Unfortunately, the MIT wiz-kids haven't quite got a working model yet. Each component has been successfully built and tested, but they haven't squeezed them all together, though they should have it all up and running simultaneously by the end of the year. The tech could be a boon to the Army (which is funding the project), since troops are often required to carry up to three days worth of laptop batteries for a field mission, but we're totally stoked to start smogging it up in Starbucks with our little turbine a-whirring and spreadsheet a-crunching. Other than that spreadsheet part. Those suck.

[Via Slashdot]