It's fairly reassuring that if those rollable, water-powered, paper, and ultracapacitor-based battery ideas don't exactly pan out, we've got yet another idea coming out of MIT that just might gain traction. Apparently, scientists at the university are working on self-assembling Li-ion cells when not thinking about what witty remark they'll plaster on their own spacecraft, and it seems that Yet-Ming Chiang and his colleagues have selected electrode and electrolyte materials that, when combined, "organize themselves into the structure of a working battery." By measuring various forces with "ultraprecise atomic-force microscope probes," the researchers were able to choose materials with just the right combination of attractive and repulsive forces, essentially creating a perfect environment for batteries that could build themselves. Additionally, a current prototype has displayed the ability to be discharged and recharged "multiple times," and while commercial uses aren't nailed down just yet, the backers are already envisioning how the technology could be used in minuscule devices where standard cells won't exactly fit in. Let's just hope this stuff doesn't cause too much friction whilst building itself up, eh?