No, not computer viruses—I'm talking bacteria and viruses. Boffins at MIT have discovered that a genetically modified version of the M13 virus can actually increase the efficiency of solar cells, to as much as a third greater efficiency. This means converting sunlight to electricity wouldn't take so darn long, and perhaps even eke more electricity out of mother nature's rays, as well.

Fooling around with viruses at the microscopic level is only a tiny process, but has extraordinary benefits. In fact, MIT's researchers have only added 0.1 per cent extra weight to the finished solar cells, but as Professor Belcher says, "a little biology goes a long way." [MIT via PhysOrg via Inhabitat]