According to an article in TechHQ, researchers in Italy have created a proof-of-concept edible battery made from foodstuffs that could inspire digestible devices.
The technology is deliciously amazing. According to the article, the power source uses riboflavin (vitamin B2 – present in almonds, avocados, mushrooms, and many other foods) as the anode and quercetin (a compound present in capers, among other vegetables) as the cathode. And the design includes a water-based electrolyte as well as activated charcoal to boost electrical conductivity. Separating the two sides of the battery is a piece of nori seaweed – which will be familiar to fans of sushi – and prevents the electrical energy source from short-circuiting.
The whole package is encapsulated in beeswax. And the cell operates at 0.65 V – a value that the developers believe shouldn’t cause any problems inside the body when the edible battery is ingested. The group tested its rechargeable concept by powering up a commercial Broadcom LED.
Depending on the current draw, the team’s device can operate anywhere from a few minutes to over an hour.
“Edible electronic devices will have major implications for gastrointestinal tract monitoring, therapeutics, as well as rapid food quality monitoring,” write researchers in Italy, who recently presented a design for an edible rechargeable battery Advanced Materials – read it here.
The field of edible electronics has seen numerous proposals for sensors and circuits, but one of the sticking points –up until now – has been how to power those designs. Taking inspiration from nature and how biochemical machines operate, the group of physicists, engineers, and materials experts has come up with a battery design that reads like a menu.
TechHQ says there’s another angle to edible batteries too. Made out of a majority of foodstuffs and biodegradable materials, the power sources score highly in terms of their sustainability.
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