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Japan may be a superpower with the latest technology at its disposal, but if Seokheun Choi can have his way, the world will think of Japan primarily as the originating place of the paper folding art of Origami… and why is that you ask? That’s because Choi has developed an inexpensive way to make bacteria-powered battery from paper using Origami.
The engineer from Binghamton University has been working on designing a battery that will power biosensors. He chose paper for his revolutionizing endeavour as it is cheap, environment friendly because of its biodegradable nature, easy to procure, and does not require external pumps as paper can absorb a solution using capillary force.
Foldable into a size of Matchbook
The battery can be folded into a size of a matchbook. It uses carbon as a cathode rather than an anode. One side of the paper battery has the carbon screen printed on it in order to form a water- absorbing layer with wax boundaries. A nickel- based solution is put on the other side to create an air- breathing cathode.
Powered by a single drop of bacteria
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The research which has been published in the Nano Energy journal, states that the battery can be powered by even a single drop of liquid containing bacteria. Microbial respiration is how the battery generates its power. Choi states that the power can come from any organic matter. If paper is easy to procure, bacteria are even easier to find. Any pothole with water, puddles will have millions of power producing bacteria. Using capillary action, the paper battery will take in the bacteria and thus the process of producing power using a paper battery and bacteria will effectively begin.
Can produce enough electricity to light up small LED
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According to Choi, the bacteria powered paper battery will produce enough electricity to light up a small LED. Although there are paper based sensors available to examine various biological properties, they need a powered, hand help piece of equipment for analysis.
An aid to create self-sufficient medical devices
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Choi is hopeful that eventually a biosensor will be fully powered by the battery which will aid in creating medical devices that are self-sufficient. Such devices will also be compostable and hence not harmful to nature. With such a battery, even undeveloped areas with limited resources and isolated regions will be able to benefit in terms of diagnosing medical issues in an inexpensive and accurate manner.
The brilliant work by Choi has made him the recipient of a three-year grant of $300,000 from the US National Science Foundation.
Priced at only 5 cents, this creation has the potential to change the world. If this invention ticks, the isolated, undeveloped areas of our world will no longer be at the receiving end of medical malice.