Innovative work on self-powered transistors by researchers at the University of Cambridge has been reported in Science. According to the synopsis of the article (full text requires a subscription):
Wearable devices and environmental sensors ideally should consume very little power to avoid the need for batteries that would have to be replaced. Lee and Nathan developed a thin-film transistor (TFT) from In-Ga-Zn-O thin films. To make the material less conductive, the films were fabricated to avoid oxygen vacancies. The TFT operated at ultralow power (less than 1 nW) and at switching voltages of less than 1 V with very high intrinsic gain. The devices work by changing the height of the so-called Schottky barrier formed between the semiconductor gate material and the metal drain contact
I’ve seen some reports that this would solve a lot of problems with the Internet of Things in terms of having to replace batteries in remote sensors but I’m not sure this technology would be a complete solution. I don’t see that level of power generation being sufficient for radio transmitters. However, it might be enough for devices to store data locally until it is manually collected as part of a data gathering routine. Certainly offers a lot of potential.