Nanowires inside a rat can convert the power of breathing and heartbeats into electricity, according to researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology. The nano-generator could conceivably lead to nano-scale medical implants and sensors powered by the body, Technology Review reports.
Zhong Lin Wang, a materials science and engineering professor at Georgia Tech, led the team that attached the nano-generator to a rat's diaphragm.
Researchers put a zinc oxide nanowire onto a flexible polymer and encapsulated it into a polymer casing to protect it from bodily fluids, Tech Review reports. When attached to the rat's diaphragm, the animal's breathing stretched the nanowire, and it generated a tiny amount of electricity -- about four pico-amps of current at two millivolts. When it was attached to the rat's heart, the nano-generator produced about 30 pico-amps at about three millivolts.
The rat generator operates at the femtowatt scale -- a pico-amp is a million millionth of an amp, so it is a tiny amount of current -- so not very much power. But the technology has potential to power nano-sized devices, Wang says in a paper on the results published in the journal Advanced Materials.
Wang's team is already building on the rat findings, Tech Review reports. The team has a device that integrates hundreds of nanowires into an array, giving an output current of about 100 nano-amps at 1.2 volts. The next step is to connect the higher-powered nano-generator inside an animal, Wang says.
nano wire powered pacemakers
can sound vibrations be intense enough to bend the wire as to make electricity from sound?
Thats a great idea extreme. If these are implanted in people eventually, design them to resonate when one talks and extract more power from them.
Electronics powered by bodies?
OH GOD THE MATRIX IS COMING
Queue the ethics department
Question. Wouldn't a bigger animal such as a cow create more electricity for this device? But how much more exactly?
I wonder how many of those it would take to charge a AA battery??
It would be incredible if they could make this technology efficient enough to run our portable electronic devices. Obviously this would be very helpful as well for medical devices such as insulin pumps and pacemakers. I know that nanotechnology has already kinda bridged the gap of using our bodies to generate energy. Scientists are currently working with nano-fibers that you can wear as clothes but can also lets say, power your ipod from your pants pocket. I saw a great video about this the other day. I'lll post a link to the video if you want to check it out. I think this will be a very promising field of tech in the future and will definitely only get more complex and awesome.
The machines are one step closer to turning us into batteries...
Finally! we can power small lamps or just picoseconds with no negative effects to the enviroment!
If you're interested in the science behind the story, we've made the original paper freely available at www.materialsviews.com/details/news/737119/Muscle_power.html.
Plus, there you can watch a video of the generator in action inside the animal.
Editor, Advanced Materials
Any comparisons to a dynamo generator ?
Would we be able to use this to make an artificial ear by putting thoe things in a hearing-impaired persons inner ear and decoding the signal made by the electicity pulses into something the brain can "hear"? If so, that would be awesome.
As I see it, C/Fe is on it's appointed arrival. Time is approximate, but in ten years humanity overall will be hard pressed to differentiate between traditional machinery and baseline humans. Because everything will have a baseline human appearance. Digital and robotics is pretty much in place. Bio is the last thing to get integrated. But the battery tech demos that it's on schedule.