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Constant source

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...

Frugal function

Security labels without silicon can prevent theft. Still, no electronic sensor functions without a wireless connection. The power supply required for such devices has an impact on battery size. Which is why a Norwegian-based startup has developed a new circuit architecture for wireless chips, so that they work in the subthreshold region. At 3.3 volts, conventional components need around...

Natural power

Edible furniture can supply important energy in emergencies. Our digestive system is crucial and requires regular examination - whether it’s by ultrasound, colonoscopy, or a mini camera that can be swallowed. Now, an Italian research team has developed an edible prototype to replace the metal batteries used in these devices. Acting as anode and cathode respectively, Vitamin B2 and...

Solid layers

Tailored prosthetics create optimal conditions for movement. When it comes to the body of electric cars, design depends on established battery sizes and desired performance. In order to create more flexibility, a US startup has developed a manufacturing process, whereby solid-state batteries are 3D printed. Different sorts of powder made from glass, ceramics or metal can be combined in...

Steamy illumination

A natural alternative to single-use plastic was inspired by spiders. Now, an international research team from India and the US has turned its attentions to the animal kingdom to generate sustainable electricity for domestic use. The team struck lucky while experimenting with silkworm cocoons. When dry, the protein membrane is insulating. But with the help of water vapour it...

Leading the charge

Banana ‘paper’ can help protect potatoes from pathogens by absorbing spuds’ discharge. Now, a startup from the Netherlands is using the discarded organic material produced during photosynthesis to create electricity. Bacteria around the roots of a plant break down the discharge, releasing electrons and protons. These react with anodes and cathodes in the soil, as well as oxygen in...

Material charge

Body heat and sweat generated through sport can be useful. Now, a research team in Singapore has found a way of producing electricity from air moisture. First, a fabric made of wood pulp and polyester was coated with carbon nanoparticles. Hydrogel made using sea salt was applied to one half, while the other stayed dry. Positively charged sea-salt ions...

Energetic extract

Wine and shrimps are an ideal combination, particular in connection with chitin. These carbohydrates from crustacean shells aren’t just suitable for conserving foods; their potential is vast. Now, a research team from Maryland University has developed an electrolyte gel with chitosan - a bio-polymer extracted from chitin - for use in zinc batteries. In tests, their new battery showed...

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