Most things with a measurable temperature – human beings going about their daily routines, inert objects – generate terahertz waves, radiation that is sandwiched between infrared and microwave on the electromagnetic spectrum.

So far, these waves haven’t proved very useful, but now scientists at MIT are trying to harness them with devices that use them to generate electricity that could charge the batteries of cellphones, laptops, even medical implants.

If successful, the charging devices would passively gather the waves and generate DC current at room temperature, something that hasn’t been accomplished before. Previous devices that can turn terahertz waves – T-rays – to electricity only work in ultracold environments, according to an MIT News article about the project.

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