The GameBoy, Nintendo’s first handheld console, has been tested. Its hull has been redesigned to incorporate photovoltaic panels that provide energy. In addition, the buttons recover energy with each press. The problem is, it’s still not enough to power the console for more than a few seconds.
Digital technology provides many services that improve our daily life. We communicate more effectively. We work more freely. We inform ourselves more globally. We have fun more simply. We choose what, when and by what means. Smartphones have definitely changed our lives. With all the savings that this entails: applications, services, connected accessories, etc.
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Of course, there is a backlash. The ecological impact of digital technology is considerable. Almost a year ago, when Stadia was launched, a study showed that digital’s environmental footprint was very bad: the energy needed for servers, the air conditioning for the premises and the bandwidth to pass the flow. video… all of this has a huge impact. And even the more traditional game has an impact: game server, download, consoles and PC power, component manufacturing, etc.
A solar powered GameBoy
Can we play ecologically today? Today, The answer is no. But a team of researchers from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands show that the gamers’ case is not environmentally hopeless. Their adventure, at the junction between technological curiosity, retrogaming, environmental concern and scientific performance, is told at length in an excellent article published by our colleagues from the American edition of CNET.
They got a console Nintendo GameBoy. You know, the gray parallelepiped block that came out in 1989. They modified it so that they could function normally without running out of battery or battery. For this, they notably recovered its cartridge drive (because, yes, you can play commercial games) and replaced some elements, such as the screen (much smaller and less energy consuming), the motherboard, the shell and the power system. They have integrated small photovoltaic panels on the upper part of the shell, especially around the screen.
Then they integrated new buttons. These buttons are special because they allow you to create energy with each press. A bit like electric cars when decelerating. The result, called “The Engage”, is promising, but not yet satisfactory. Indeed, the console consumes so much energy that it turns off after 10 seconds on average.
A very energy-intensive practice
The length of a session is not constant and depends on the game. Tetris consumes little energy, while Super Mario Land consumes more. Games that consume more memory consume more power. Pokemon Blue is a good example. Fortunately, so that the player is not frustrated with each chronic extinction, this eco-friendly GameBoy is configured to keep progress in a non-volatile memory (like a state save in an emulator) and automatically load the game when it has enough time. ‘energy.
However, this project is not intended to create a GameBoy that runs on renewable energy. The wish of the creators is to think about a new way of manufacturing game consoles (see electronic products more broadly) and to involve manufacturers in an approach that is more respectful of the environment and natural resources.