October 18, 2011
Plugging gadgets into a socket in the wall, or loading them with batteries – or maybe even unfurling a solar panel – is how most of us think of getting electricity. But what about plugging them into your body?
It may sound far fetched, but under the shadow of the Alps, Dr Serge Cosnier and his team at the Joseph Fourier University of Grenoble have built a device to do just that. Their gadget, called a biofuel cell, uses glucose and oxygen at concentrations found in the body to generate electricity.
They are the first group in the world to demonstrate their device working while implanted in a living animal. If all goes to plan, within a decade or two, biofuel cells may be used to power a range of medical implants, from sensors and drug delivery devices to entire artificial organs. All you’ll need to do to power them up is eat a candy bar, or drink a coke.
Biofuel cells could kick-start a revolution in artificial organs and prosthetics that would transform tens of thousands of lives every year.
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