We’ve seen all kinds of interesting takes on the battery that could give us hope for a better future, but it might be time to spit on all of them, or at least time to spit into one of them. Scientists at Binghamton University have created a new, paper-based battery that is powered by just a simple drop of human saliva!
The battery works like a microbial fuel cell. It’s cheap to make can could be a life-saver in a natural disaster or in places where you can’t get to a traditional power source. Leading the pack on this discovery is Binghamton University Electrical and Computer Science Assistant Professor Seokheun Choi, who has been working on the new technology for the last five years with hopes that he can help bring power to doctors who need it for diagnostic tests in impoverished areas.
“On-demand micro-power generation is required especially for point-of-care diagnostic applications in developing countries,” said Choi. “Typically, those applications require only several tens of microwatt-level power for several minutes, but commercial batteries or other energy harvesting technologies are too expensive and over-qualified. Also, they pose environmental pollution issues.”
The way it works is this: each battery contains freeze-dried exoelectrogenic cells. When you place a drop of spit on it, it causes a reaction that produces enough power to get medical sensors working.
Unlike standard consumer available batteries, these would be a lot more shelf-stable, making them ideal for remote locations around the world.