New Game Boy runs without batteries - but goes out every 10 seconds

Researchers at Northwestern University (USA) and Delft University of Technology (Netherlands), led by Josiah Hester and Przemyslav Pawelczak, have developed the ENGAGE handheld game console, which does not have a battery because it is powered by solar energy and the user's movement. The team will demonstrate the novelty on September 16 during the UbiComp 2020 conference.

The ENGAGE box fits into the Game Boy form factor, complete with solar panels around the display. Pressing the buttons is an additional power source. The energy received is enough to provide the processing power of the processor and the ability to play almost any retro game.

Since the device has to change power supplies during the game, there are short-term energy losses. To minimize them, the researchers literally created the electronics and software of the system from scratch. Also, a technique was developed to maintain the game in volatile memory, allowing it to be quickly restored when power is restored.

All this frees you from the need to "save", as on conventional gaming platforms. Interruptions in using the gadget do not exceed one second for every 10 seconds of playing time. This is quite tolerable in games such as chess, solitaire or Tetris, but makes it impossible to play arcades.