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Generating Electricity from the Human Body

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If you have watched The Matrix movie series, you may not be surprised at the idea of generating electricity from the human body. With the technological advances of this age, you can expect what we once thought of as science fiction to be reflected in real life. With the continuous efforts of scientists, new studies have emerged proving the possibility of generating electricity from human organs; using some vital operations, such as eating or crying. In this article, we present some of these modern techniques, which rely on generating electricity form the human body, and how scientists have developed them to fit the human body.

Blood Flow

A team at Fudan University in China came up with a method to generate energy from the blood’s movement through blood vessels, using carbon nanotube fibers. The idea was inspired by hydroelectricity generated by flowing water in rivers and waterfalls. Likewise, blood-based electricity is generated by the blood flow through arteries; forming a renewable source of energy that does not depend on the weather as others do. By applying this technique, energy could be generated to run implantable medical devices—such as pacemakers—more simply and easily. The amount of generated electricity using this technique is still unknown; thus, more tests are needed to be applied to humans.

Footsteps

Have you ever thought that you can recharge your mobile phone by wandering around the house for several minutes? The British clean technology company Pavegen has begun converting kinetic energy from footsteps into electrical energy. It uses an adjustable and multi-tasking floor system aided by a wireless transmitter that captures data and turbines to extract electrical energy from walking.

The idea behind this floor was inspired by walking. As we walk, we push the ground downwards; the generators inside the floor shift vertically from its original place, generating kinetic energy from electromagnetic induction. Although a single footstep generates 5 watts of energy, which is a small amount, it could be stored in batteries and used for street lighting at night. This amount can light a street lamp for 30 seconds; as many pedestrians step on the floor, more energy could be generated.

Tears and Saliva

Have you ever cried over a high electricity bill? Well, you are on your way to save some money using those tears!

According to a new study at the University of Limerick (UL) in Ireland, which was published in the Journal of Applied Physics, electricity can be generated by an enzyme known as lysozyme, which is present in egg whites, human tears, and saliva. Lysozyme has a piezoelectricity* property that can convert mechanical energy into electrical energy, and vice versa.

Future applications of this discovery may include activating and controlling the release of drugs in the body. It could also replace current biomedical equipment, which contain lead and other toxic chemicals.

Glossary

*Piezoelectricity: is the electric charge generated in response to applied mechanical stress.

References

bigthink.com
forbes.com
livescience.com
utilitydive.com

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