Solar power Game Boy could change the gaming industry

An entirely solar-powered gaming device – that’s the dream. A team of researchers at TU Delft Sustainable Systems Laboratory believe they’ve got the key to get this conversation started in a big way. The project goes by the name Engage, and it looks a whole lot like an old-school Game Boy from Nintendo.

This new project created a gaming system which reminds the user of a gaming device they’ve worked with before – but whose power is gathered by solar panels. In other words, batteries not included – because there’s no need! ALSO note: Unlike the original, this device is not an officially licensed Nintendo product – it’s all open-source – or it WILL be open sourced after the first major presentation of the project is made on the 12th of September.

This project is part of researchers’ work on the harvesting of energy in new and innovative ways as well as “intermittent computing.” This means NOT having your computer plugged in to the wall 24 hours a day, and finding it acceptable that one might not have 24/7 access to a gaming device – because sometimes it’s got to sit and charge.

The importance here is the sustainable way in which the power for the gaming device is harvested. The sun shines all day and it’ll be millions of years before it explodes – so we’d do well to make the most of what’s available.

This project was created by Josiah Hester, from Northwestern University (USA), and both Przemysław Pawełczak and Vito Kortbeek from TU Delft. They’ll be presenting this project at UbiComp 2020 on September 12. For now, they’re sharing information via their Twitter accounts (as shown below) and in a feature on CNET in long form.

You may also want to take a peek at the paper “Batteries not included” by Josiah Hester (also part of this Game Boy project), and Jacob Sorber. “Getting things done amid frequent power failures, batteryless intermittent research is rethinking how we build computing systems and paving the way to a sustainable and scalable digital future,” says the paper’s abstract. “The next trillion devices might be a little weird.”

If you drop in on the website Free The Game Boy, you’ll see a placeholder page. This page suggests that the site will go live on September 12th, 2020 via ACM UbiComp 2020.

Once the project is announced officially, you’ll find the TU Delft Sustainable Systems Laboratory Github hosting the open source files for this Engage project.

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