Thursday, August 25, 2005

I'm Shocked! Shocked I say!!!

Thanks to for the heads up on this one -

Ki Bang Lee, of The Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology in Singapore announced a battery that is activated with biofluids such as urine or blood.

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The first urine-powered paper battery has been created by physicists in Singapore. The credit-card sized unit could be a useful power source for cheap healthcare test kits for diseases like diabetes, and could even be used in emergency situations to power a cellphone, they say.
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Are they going to set up special booths in the streets for people to discreetly step into in order to pee on their cell phones? I'd be concerned about putting it up to my ear when it is juiced up.

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Current biochips need an external reader such as a laser scanner or an external source of power, such as conventional batteries, to perform diagnostic tests. Lee'‘s technology houses both the sensors and the battery on one plastic chip.
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Please note this plastic chip is not the kind you play poker with!

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The urine-powered battery was able to generate a voltage of about 1.5 volts with a corresponding power of 1.5 micro-watts using just 0.2 millilitres of urine, says Lee. And if a second droplet of urine was added 15 hours after the battery was first activated, the replenished urine could generate still more electricity.

The battery is currently suited for use with disposable devices it is not yet ready to power laptops or iPods. "But if, for example, we place a small cellular phone or transmitter on a plastic card, the chip will work as a disposable biofluid-activated means of communication in an emergency, Lee told New Scientist. In this case, the size will be less than that of a credit card.
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1.5 volts! Hmmm. My camera takes 3 volts. I wonder if two of em...

I wonder too how far will this go? I mean, could you start your car if you put a bunch of these in your car seat? Dad's Barcalounger will have to be aired out on occasion if it is set up to run the TV.

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The battery is made of a layer of filter paper steeped in copper chloride, sandwiched between strips of magnesium and copper. This sandwich is then laminated in plastic to hold the whole package together. The resulting battery is just 1 millimetre thick and 60 by 30 mm across slightly smaller than a credit card.

To activate the battery, a drop of urine is added and soaks through the sandwiched filter paper. The chemicals dissolve and react to produce electricity. The magnesium layer acts as the anode, losing its electrons. And the copper chloride acts as the cathode, mopping up the electrons.

But Lee adds that the voltage, current and capacity of the battery could be improved by different designs or by switching the electrode or electrolyte materials used.

He believes the system could be used in home-based health test kits. The long-term goal is for people to be able to buy disposable biochips for a disease test from any pharmacy,” he says.
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ATTENTION JEFF FOXWORTHY FANS - Do not be fooled by the word 'sandwich' in the preceding paragraph. They are not talking about bread and meat!!!


prying1 sez:

- This really does look like a good thing but we will all be well advised to wash our hands after borrowing a friends cell phone and think twice before jumping into Dad's Barcalounger. Just in case...