Short Bytes: A team of MIT researchers has created a stomach acid battery that uses stomach’s acidic fluids to power itself. This battery will be used in ingestible electronic devices for drug delivery purposes and study of vital signs. This battery, inspired by the common lemon battery, is expected to turn out to be a cheaper and safer alternative.These days tiny, ingestible electronic devices are increasingly being used as a drug delivery substitute in many challenging cases. But, how to power these devices? As an answer to this question, MIT researchers have designed a new kind of voltaic cell that’s sustained by the acidic fluids present in your stomach.
This new battery system can power a safer and cheaper alternative to the current batteries, according to the researchers. The battery can also produce enough power to run sensors and drug delivery devices for a longer period.
The researchers have published a new paper in Nature Biomedical Engineering journal. Interestingly, this stomach acid battery is powered by the ‘lemon battery.’ You might have learned in your school days how lemon juice is used as an electrolyte and produces electricity with the help of a copper and zinc electrode. Just like lemon juice, stomach acid is very acidic.
The researchers are hoping to shrink down the size of the battery. Talking about the power, each battery can produce enough electricity to power a temperature sensor and a 900MHz transmitter. The battery lasts about six days. It’s rolled up and delivered in a capsule form.
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“You could have a self-powered pill that would monitor your vital signs from inside for a couple of weeks, and you don’t even have to think about it,” says Philip Nadeau, lead author of the study. “It just sits there making measurements and transmitting them to your phone.”
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