Implantable Devices To Be Powered By The Battery You Could Actually Eat

Eating a battery sounds absolutely insane and I am sure anyone wouldn’t take the risk of having an internal lethal injury. However, when it comes to biodegradable battery that delivers healing from within, which once out of power gets absorbed by the body, maybe it’s worth taking a note.

For years, scientists have been working to develop implantable devices that absolutely requires no major maintenance such as replacing expired battery. Well, this biodegradable, implantable battery which is the brainchild of John Rogers, might be the answer to that.

During an event at Urbana-Champaign in 2012, John Rogers, materials scientist at the University of Illinois and his team unveiled a number of biodegradable silicon chips that could track temperature or mechanical strain and forward the results to external device . Unfortunately, those devices were relatively bulky and serviceably too complex to use that they later had to look for a smart solution – “Biodegradable Battery”.

The devices, entitled Advanced Materials, use magnesium foil, iron, molybdenum, and tungsten. These metals conduct electricity when they come in contact with phosphate-buffered saline solution which is an electrolyte. All these metals including the electrolyte were packed up in a biodegradable polymer known as a polyanhydride.

The metals used in the experiment determined the currents and voltages. Based on the example they assumed and the metals they used, one-square-centimetre cell with a 50-micrometre-thick magnesium anode and an 8-micrometre-thick molybdenum cathode could produce a steady 2.4 milliamps of current. Once they were done with the reaction, the battery dissolved itself leaving nothing behind and released less than 9 milligrams of magnesium, this amount of concentration of magnesium is absolutely harmless for the body. “Almost all of the key building blocks are now available to produce self-powered, biodegradable implants”, John Rogers told Nature.

The device could be helpful for a number of medical and environmental applications and in the development of biomedical devices.

[Source: Nature]