This Spit-Powered Bio-Battery Could Revolutionize Healthcare

Sometimes technological advancements come in the most unexpected forms


This bio-battery is powered by human saliva

This bio-battery is powered by human saliva. (Binghamton University/Seokheun Choi)

Our modern world is driven by electricity and life as we know it would be absolutely impossible without our ability to harness and store energy.

While we have learned to take this luxury for granted, millions of people around the world are less fortunate and actually have no access to electricity whatsoever.

Researchers at Binghamton University, New York set out to raise the quality of life for people without access to electricity and created a paper-based bacteria-powered battery. A simple drop of human saliva can activate the device, which can generate enough electricity to power an LED light for around 20 minutes.

“The battery includes specialized bacterial cells, called exoelectrogens, which have the ability to harvest electrons externally to the outside electrode,” said Seokheun Choi, a professor for computer science at Binghamton University and coauthor of the study. “For the long-term storage, the bacterial cells are freeze-dried until use. This battery can even be used in challenging environmental conditions like desert areas. All you need is an organic matter to rehydrate and activate the freeze-dried cells.”

The main goal was to produce a disposable, easy-to-use, and portable bio-battery that can be used to power simple gadgets such as pregnancy tests, HIV tests, glucose sensors and other medical devices.

The ingenious invention is still in its early stages but could soon bring about a major revolution in basic healthcare for people most in need.

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