The Human Body: The Next Battery

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It was probably only after my 6th time of watching The Matrix Trilogy did I finally realize that machines were using babies as fuel and those who had sockets in their bodies (like Neo and Trinity) were once babies “grown” to become fuel rather than being naturally born.

Yes it took me that long, probably because the idea at the time seemed so far-fetched it was beyond my immediate comprehension.

But now it seems there is a way to harness human byproducts to create biofuel. A research team, lead by Dr. Serge Cosner, from Joseph Fourier University of Grenoble has created a Biofuel cell technology that receives its power by converting glucose and oxygen found in the human body into a viable and continuous energy source. The ‘bionic engine’ will make it possible to extend the functional lifetimes of a range of implants and biomedical devices from sensors and drug delivery devices to entire artificial organs.

Because devices often only last 5 years, some patients have to undergo 2-3 risky surgeries during their lifetimes to ensure they have a fully-functioning implant. Along with improving patients lives, these developments in sustainable Biofuels enable researchers to focus on developing the next evolution in life extending surgeries, organ replacement and bionic limbs. Dr. Cosner’s team isn’t the only one looking to alleviate patient’s risk and open the door to new possibilities.

Prof. Itamar Willner, of the Univeristy of Jerusalem, claims that this novel use of glucose oxidase enzymes has allowed research groups to create internal electrical systems. Wilner explains the future possibilities, “Today we can generate enough power to supply an artificial urinary sphincter, or pacemaker. We are already working on a system that can produce 50 times that amount of power, then we will have enough to supply much more demanding devices.”

 

Source: BBC