Sony powers Walkman with carbohydrate diet

TOKYO, AFP & Reuters

Bread and potatoes are sources of human energy, and now a carbohydrate diet is also powering up a Walkman. Japanese technological giant Sony Corp., hoping to be eco-friendly, said it developed a prototype battery cell that generates electricity from carbohydrates and sugar. The test cells have achieved output of 50 milliwatts, enough to play music on a Walkman, Sony said. The bio battery’s casing is made of a vegetable-based plastic. It measures 3.9 cm (1.5 inch) along each edge and works by pouring sugar solution into the unit, where enzymes break it down to generate electricity. In a demonstration Thursday, a Sony employee poured a sugary sports drink to power a music player and speakers.

The company said it came up with the battery by studying how living creatures generate energy. Sugar batteries would biodegrade and the source material can be found in plants grown around the world. Plants regenerate through photosynthesis, “underlining the potential for sugar-based bio-batteries as an ecologically friendly energy device of the future,” a Sony statement said. Sony said it would continue to develop the prototype and study ways to put it into practical use. Sony, which changed the way the world listened to music with the Walkman, has vowed to rededicate itself to innovation after suffering a troubled patch with the success of Apple’s iPod.

Sony was also hit last year by the recall of millions of laptop batteries over fears they could catch fire.