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A Tiny Turbine in Your Veins Could Harvest Power From Your Blood Flow

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posted on May, 19 2011 @ 05:33 PM

Enterprising engineers are constantly figuring out ways to generate electricity from just about anything that has a little extra energy to give, from ocean waves and river currents to much smaller micro-generators that harvest ambient vibrations from automobiles crossing a bridge. Now Swiss researchers want to tap an even tinier source of energy: the human bloodstream. Using a tiny turbine installed in a blood vessel, researchers could generate the microwatts needed to keep implanted medical devices ticking.

Popular Science

Very interesting implications for science here. The article mainly focuses on the ability to install medical devices in areas of the body that are not accessible now because they are required to be accessible for battery replacement. I wonder how effective this technology would be, maybe produce enough to actually generate a small amount of electricity for say, an emergency radio for survival situations.

The article also brings up my first concern upon seeing the title. If we can't even keep our veins/arteries clean with nothing in them, how much would the risk for blood clots and other ill effects increase?

But there is some concern that such turbines in the bloodstream could cause blood clots. Blood that gets caught in eddies tends to coagulate, and if the turbulence cause by a turbine in a blood vessel cause such clots to occur they could prove deadly as they move through the bloodstream. Which would kind of render the pacemaker useless.

Then there is the question of if this technology were to become practical who would lose money. Creating self-sustaining technology is going to squeeze cash flow somewhere and I wonder if this will ever see more than the briefest glimpse of the light of day.

posted on May, 19 2011 @ 06:16 PM
I like this idea; conceptually, it makes sense at least from a mechanical point of view. Whether, as mentioned, blood clots or other biological issues like rejection might occur, I don't know enough to say. There have been a lot of other similar ideas for using the human body to power electricity, like using body heat to generate electricity, or the normal movement of your limbs (like those watches that wind when you move your arm) or that type of thing. Blood pressure is quite strong, so it would probably push the turbines fairly hard. I'd be most concerned about keeping the turbine spinning and free of obstructions; imagine a blood clot getting in there or something and clogging the entire turbine, which would cut off blood flow. Not good.

posted on May, 19 2011 @ 06:24 PM
i like how there thinking realy cool stuff!!!

posted on May, 19 2011 @ 11:12 PM
You mention clots but wouldnt this also raise your bloodpressure... as with any thing you have to spend energy to create energy so wouldnt your heart need to pump harder and or faster to move the blood through? so what exactly would you be gaining from this?

I do like the thinking outside the box tho... But what do I know with my backwoods academics.

posted on May, 20 2011 @ 06:15 AM
So .. the energy produced, is actually coming from the heart ..

Although, the extra effort required by the heart to do its normal functions, and counteract any resistance added by the device may be extremely minute .. When i consider, how fragile i feel my heart is sometimes .. i would not feel comfortable exerting this additional resistance to a certain part of my blood flow, continually, over a large period of time ... especially in the instances, when my heart rate and blood flow is increased due to demand .. ie, running or whatever ..

Depending on the function of the device .. it it were life saving, or if my body was damaged to the point i could not live a quality life and required the device to remedy that .. Then sure ..

However .. i think there may be another way to solve this battery replacement issue ... If only we could get our hands on Nikola Teslas' notes ...

Sending power wirelessly is a reality i am led to believe ... science can already transmit power, and receive it, and light a bulb for eg ...
Tho for the moment ... it is not conventional to use this for various reason apparently ..
I dare say, this will change in time ... When science catches up with Tesla, or when TPTB release Teslas info ..

A device fitted with the relevant receptor, would only require for you to be in the proximity of the 'charging field' for a certain amount of time ... Bed time would be ideal charge time ..

Wireless energy transfer or wireless power is the transmission of electrical energy from a power source to an electrical load without interconnecting wires. Wireless transmission is useful in cases where interconnecting wires are inconvenient, hazardous, or impossible.

Wireless Energy Transfer

Another application for such a thing could be charging hard to reach batteries ?

Just thinking out loud

edit on 20-5-2011 by Segenam because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 21 2011 @ 01:53 PM
i'd rather use a metabolic pathway osmosis or something similar to generate electric power in microdevices. no moving parts and less risk of clotting.

A device that produces electricity from blood could be used to turn people into "human batteries".

Researchers in Japan are developing a method of drawing power from blood glucose, mimicking the way the body generates energy from food.

Theoretically, it could allow a person to pump out 100 watts - enough to illuminate a light bulb.

But that would entail converting all the food eaten by the individual into electricity. In practice, less power would be generated since food is needed by the body.

However the scientists say the "bio-nano" generator could be used to run devices embedded in the body, or sugar-fed robots.

The team at electronics giant Panasonic's Nanotechnology Research Laboratory near Kyoto has so far only managed to produce very low power levels.

But the scientists ultimately expect to gain much greater performance from the device.

The battery is based on an enzyme capable of stripping glucose of its electrons, The Engineer magazine reported.

Dr Kazuo Eda, heading the research, said: "It is like the metabolism of food. Human bodies can process glucose and obtain energy. When glucose is oxidised, electrons can be obtained."

He believed bio-nano fuel cells were the next step for researchers after generators powered by hydrogen, natural gas and methanol now being developed for the car and energy industries.

posted on May, 22 2011 @ 05:49 PM
reply to post by Strave

Yeah, your heart would be what's driving the turbines, and it would require your heart to work harder, but I don't think it would be noticeable to anyone who had one, unless one of the turbines got jammed or something. What you would gain from this is that (theoretically) you could do things like build batteryless pacemakers that worked off of the turbines, and so you wouldn't need to get the pacemakers (or other devices for inside the body) serviced as often.

reply to post by Segenam

I wouldn't feel very comfortable with one of those turbines in my body, either; I'd rather have a battery that needed replacing every few years, as it seems safer to me.

In regards to wireless transfer of electricity, it is certainly possible, and it's done every day, but wires are simply more efficient. Tesla had some remarkable demonstrations in this area and, as far as I know, some of them have not yet been duplicated. Whether they have been suppressed or simply lost is another topic...

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