Your saliva will power future micro devices
Another useful application of Microbial Fuel Cells (MFC) has come to light and it is a saliva-powered source. Yes, your saliva could fuel on chip applications and fuel cells for wearable gadgets that are desperately looking for an organic power source. The research is headed by Bruce E Logan, Evan Pugh Professor and Kappe Professor of Environmental Engineering, Penn State, who have invented a saliva-powered micro-sized MFC capable of generating enough power to fuel microelectronic applications. According to the researchers the idea is credited to fellow researcher Justine E. Mink who was looking to make MFC sensors for diabetes monitoring.
This kind of device would be ultra-portable and ensures energy source anywhere, all you have to do is have a good amount of spit. The micro version of this device has single chamber with graphene and air cathode’s that don’t supply oxygen to the bacteria as it works at micro distances. This in turn produces 1 microwatt of electricity which is good enough to sustain a micro electronic device.
In the labs this mini microbial fuel cell was tested using acetate and human saliva but the researchers claim that any organic liquid material can also be used with equivalent efficiency.
One interesting application of this kind of device is to make a tiny ovulation predictor that is based on conductivity of woman’s saliva which changes five days before ovulation. The variation could be measured and the data could be send to smartphone via compatible app.