posted on Jun, 13 2012 @ 09:30 PM
I just found this story and thought that it would make for interesting discussion. MIT has developed a fuel cell that uses platinum to strip electrons
from glucose to provide electricity....
The new twist to the MIT fuel cell described in PLoS ONE is that it is fabricated from silicon, using the same technology used to make semiconductor
electronic chips. The fuel cell has no biological components: It consists of a platinum catalyst that strips electrons from glucose, mimicking the
activity of cellular enzymes that break down glucose to generate ATP, the cell’s energy currency. So far, the fuel cell can generate up to hundreds
of microwatts — enough to power an ultra-low-power and clinically useful neural implant.
The idea of a glucose fuel cell is not new: In the 1970s, scientists showed they could power a pacemaker with a glucose fuel cell, but the idea was
abandoned in favor of lithium-ion batteries, which could provide significantly more power per unit area than glucose fuel cells. These glucose fuel
cells also utilized enzymes that proved to be impractical for long-term implantation in the body, since they eventually ceased to function
This also interesting because there has been a bit of a race afoot concerning making this sort of technology work.
Enzymatic bio-fuel cells
have been around for a while and that is where Japan had been
concentrating their efforts. There was also research being done on tiny turbines
the bloodstream as well as yeast driven fuel cells. But it looks like good old MIT has sprinted ahead in the race.
Imagining the applications for this is fun. You can read about many of them at the original story linked above. All sorts of implants will be powered
by these devices.
I think it is also interesting that the Sodium Potassium pump
that runs, say, our muscle
cells, runs on microvoltage and how this tech might be applied there.
Or how about as docking stations for nanobots?
And then of course there are the cyborgs; you know this will take the military to places that have only been dreamt of in
Further reading on that.
The Department of Defense is planning to implant microchips in soldiers’ brains for monitoring their health information, and has already awarded a
$1.6 million contract to the Center for Bioelectronics, Biosensors and Biochips (C3B) at Clemson University for the development of an implantable
Pretty exciting stuff.
edit on 13-6-2012 by Xoanon because: .