MIT researchers want to turn you into a living Energizer Bunny! One of the big problems with medical tech that goes inside your body is making sure that it has a safe power source. If you’ve ever seen a battery explode in an old flashlight… well you can imagine why you wouldn’t want that happening in your chest cavity or your colon.
The researchers behind this new development are Giovanni Traverso and Robert Langer who had been working to find a safer and more affordable power source for internal devices that they had already been working on.
“We need to come up with ways to power these ingestible systems for a long time,” Traverso told New Atlas. “We see the GI tract as providing a really unique opportunity to house new systems for drug delivery and sensing, and fundamental to these systems is how they are powered.”
When you think about it, using stomach acid instead of battery acid is actually a pretty smart plan. What they do in this battery is take the zinc and copper electrodes that would normally be inside it, and place them on the outside of the battery. When the battery is placed in the intestine, it interacts with the stomach acid and you’ve got power!
Initial tests have already been performed in pigs. The new batteries were able to power devices that could take internal temperature readings every 12 seconds, to a receiver up to 2 m (6.6 ft) away.
The long-term hope for this invention is that it will not only aid in any number of medical treatments, but it will also create new avenues for the wearable technology market.