It’s saliva! A new ultra-thin battery is powered by spit

Having your smartphone run out of battery power at a crucial moment can make you mad enough to spit. Fortunately, new research coming out of Binghamton University, State University of New York suggests that could one day be the perfect solution. Thats because members of the electrical and computer science department have developed the next step in microbial fuel cells (MFCs): a paper-like battery thats activated by saliva.

[We have developed] a disposable, easy-to-use, and portable biobattery that can generate power from bacterial metabolism, Professor Seokheun “Sean” Choi told Digital Trends. This battery is ready to operate with human body fluids like saliva for on-demand power generation for other disposable low-power applications, such as biosensors. The battery includes specialized bacterial cells called exoelectrogens, which have the ability to harvest electrons externally to the outside electrode. For long-term storage, the bacterial cells are freeze-dried until use. This battery can be used even in challenging environmental conditions like desert areas. All you need is an organic matter — such as saliva — to rehydrate and activate the freeze-dried cells.

As it turns out, this isnt the first time weve written about the use of saliva in tech. Previously weve discussed smart mouthguards and even smartphone apps that are designed to monitor health and diagnose infections through small saliva samples. However, this is the first time weve written about saliva-powered batteries.

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