Ever had batteries run out and wish they lasted longer? Would you be willing to have a living battery? Well, scientists are working on a battery that will run 10 times longer, with the help of some microscopic critters.

The tobacco mosaic virus makes its living by munching on tobacco plants and other vegetables. Researchers have somehow figured out that by slathering the virus onto battery electrodes, it can increase battery capacity by a factor of ten.

The process starts with a strain of virus that's been genetically modified so that one end of it will bond to a metal plate. This hacked virus gets a tasty new home on the leaf of a tobacco plant, and when the entire plant is infected after a week or two, it's crushed and the virus is harvested. The virus gets deposited onto a piece of metal, where the genetic modifications cause one end of each individual virus to stick to the metal while the other end points straight up, creating an entire forest of little virus nanotrees. The last step is to coat the virus forest with a conductive layer, which renders the viruses themselves harmless, makes the structure durable, and turns the whole thing into a functional battery with a capacity up to ten times normal.

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