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Life Science

Innovative pacemakers imitate our respiratory patterns. But most device batteries still need replacing.

Enter a research team from China which has hit upon an apparently inexhaustible supply of electricity.

Using biocompatible materials, the team created a cathode from highly porous gold and an alloy comprising sodium, gallium and tin for the anode. Both react with the oxygen present in the human body, producing a steady stream of electricity.

Interestingly, this was only stably achieved once body tissue had regenerated, meaning the new battery could monitor the wound healing process. Stable voltages of 1.3V are on the low side, but research is underway to improve output.

Others are looking at implantable fuel cells nourished by glucose or even edible batteries

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