KEY POINTS

  • The device runs on solar and kinetic energy
  • Kinetic energy is derived from button mashing
  • This allows the Game Boy to work nonstop

Game Boy fanatics have a lot of exciting things to look forward to. Following earlier leaks claiming Nintendo is planning to include Game Boy and Game Boy Color games on Nintendo Switch Online, a group of engineers in the U.S. has developed the first-ever battery-free Game Boy that can run forever.

Computer engineers from Northwestern University (NU) and the Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) recently unveiled the world's first-ever battery-free Game Boy. Instead of running on a CR2025 battery, the gaming device relies on solar and kinetic energy. The kinetic energy is derived from button mashing, which allows the Game Boy to work nonstop.

Aside from Game Boy, the team developed a new platform, dubbed BFree, which lets tech enthusiasts create their own battery-free electronic devices using intermittent, harvested energy.

gameboy Nintendo's Game Boy is now old enough to rent a car. Photo: Courtesy/Wikipedia

The project was virtually showcased at the 2021 edition of UbiComp, the top-notch convention for global computing. For those interested in using the platform, instructions on how to build their own battery-free electronic device and use this latest technology are available on GitHub.

"Right now, it's virtually impossible for hobbyists to develop devices with battery-free hardware, so we wanted to democratize our battery-free platform," NU's Josiah Hester, project co-leader, said as per Tech Xplore.

"Makers all over the internet are asking how to extend their devices' battery life. They are asking the wrong question. We want them to forget about the battery and instead think about more sustainable ways to generate energy," he added.

"The maker community is typically more interested in rapidly deploying their devices, and that quickness doesn't always go well with sustainability," TU Delft's Przemyslaw Pawelczak, project co-leader, explained. "We wanted to design a viable product that can connect these two worlds."

"Now everyone can build and program smart, sustainable devices," Hester added. "This makes the future vision of ubiquitous computing more sustainable, useful and environmentally responsible."

As mentioned previously, reliable insiders in the community earlier said Nintendo plans to add Game Boy and Game Boy Color games to Nintendo Switch Online. This piece of information, which popped up earlier this month, came from an industry insider who goes by the name Nate the Hate. The leak was later corroborated by other video games sites, including Eurogamer.

The idea dates back to 2019 when data miners uncovered four emulators inside the NES app. The purpose of these emulators has not been revealed yet, but the tipsters believe the third one, named Hiyoko, is for Game Boy and Game Boy Color games.

Switch Online's anniversary is happening this month, and if the hybrid console's subscription service is indeed announcing the arrival of these classic titles to the platform, it would likely make the announcement at Nintendo Direct. The Japanese gaming giant is having a Direct event Thursday, 3 a.m. PT or 6 a.m. ET.