Scientists at Clarkson University and the University of Vermont College of Medicine have used what they’re referring to as ‘cyborg lobsters’ to demonstrate living organisms can ably and efficiently produce enough voltage to power small electrical devices.

The team in question implanted electrodes in the abdomen of two of the crustaceans, and connected both to a digital watch, the power of which was entirely sufficient on the small amount of electricity the lobsters could produce. Using a special enzyme to convert the glucose produced by the lobsters into electricity, this was then channelled through the cell implanted in the crustacean (the team has stated the lobsters would feel no pain) to the watch, where it remained powered for around an hour in the lab before the glucose levels of the lobsters dropped. The voltage soon picked back up again and the crustaceans were able to power the watch for the remainder of the time they were alive in the lab.

The research goes some way to signalling that we might be closer than we thought to a future where medical implants and such-like could be powered by one’s own electrical energy, derived from glucose, where the human body itself acts as the battery. It might well be lobsters today powering implants, but a Deus Ex-like future appears startlingly possible.

Richard Birkett

Source: Technology Review

Image Credit: G4TV

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