Researchers from Binghamton University in the US created the battery by building microbial fuel cells with inactive, freeze-dried cells which generate power within minutes of adding saliva.
The battery generated reliable power from one drop of saliva, supplying on-board power that could be used by the next generation of disposable, paper-based Point of Care (POC) diagnostic platforms, researchers said.
The battery has competitive advantages over other conventional power solutions because the biological fluid for on-demand battery activation is readily available even in the most resource-constrained settings.
“The freeze-drying technology enables long-term storage of cells without degradation or denaturation. On-demand micro-power generation is required especially for POC diagnostic applications in developing countries,” said Seokheun Choi, professor at Binghamton University.
“Typically, those applications require only several tens of microwatt-level power for several minutes, but commercial batteries or other energy harvesting technologies are too expensive and over-qualified. Also, they pose environmental pollution issues,” Choi said.
Researchers are now focusing on improving the battery’s power density so that more applications can be powered.
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