Gas-turbine engines more normally power whole cities but MIT's Professor Alan Epstein was determined that minuscule versions could be used to "power a person".
"A laptop that will run for three hours on battery charge will run for 15 to 20 hours using the microengine and it should end up costing no more than current batteries," said Professor Epstein.
He believes it could be available commercially within three to five years.
The idea of engine-powered laptops may seem outlandish but research is ongoing to put other types of engine on chips, according to Professor Epstein.
As well as millimetre-scale combustion engines, there is also the possibility of laptops powered by steam engine - which would perhaps be the ultimate collision between old and new technologies.