My wife complains about humidity in the summertime. I generally pretend that I don’t know what she is talking about, but now scientists are working on removing that source of irritation from her environment while creating energy out of thin air at the same time.

The research shows energy can be pulled from the moisture in the air using material harvested from bacteria. Nearly any material can be used, as long as it can be smashed into small particles and re-fabricated with many, many microscopic pores.

“We are opening up a wide door for harvesting clean electricity from thin air,” Xiaomeng Liu, a UMass engineering graduate student, said.

“What we have invented, you can imagine it’s like a small-scale, man-made cloud,” said Jun Yao, a professor of engineering at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and the senior author of the study.

If this air-powered generator can be efficiently perfected, it would be known as an Air Gen.

Nano Technology at work! The prototypical device is the size of a fingernail and thinner than a single hair. It is dotted with tiny nanopores. The holes have a diameter smaller than 100 nanometers, or less than a thousandth of the width of a strand of human hair.

The tiny holes allow the water in the air to pass through in a way that creates a charge imbalance in the upper and lower parts of the device, effectively creating a battery that runs continuously.

This technology may take a while. So far, the prototype only produces enough energy to produce a dot of light.

The scientific experimenters estimate that 1 billion Air Gens, about the size of a refrigerator, could produce a kilowatt and partly power a home in ideal conditions.

They could be embedded in wall paint in a home or placed in any otherwise unused space.