from the go-go-gadget-jet-engine dept.
Roland Piquepaille writes "Today, our handheld devices are powered by batteries, which are heavy and inconvenient. Fuel cells are just arriving on the market as a replacement. But there is a new contender: micro gas turbine engines under development at the MIT. Engineers there shrunk jet engines to the size of a coat button. And their blades which span an area smaller than a dime can spin a million times per minute and produce enough electricity to power your PDA or your cell phone. While there are still a few hurdles to overcome, these micro turbine engines should be operational in two or three years, with commercial products available four years from now. These micro jet engines also have the potential to free soldiers or travelers from carrying heavy batteries. The engineers even think their engines on a chip could be used in poor countries to bring electricity there. This summary gives you the essential details about a technology which promises to free us to carry extra fuel instead of batteries."
"I just want to be a good engineer."
-- Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Computer, concluding his keynote speech
at the 1988 AppleFest