Power your cyborg implants with organ-mounted energy harvesters

Credit: PNAS.org

Someday soon, humans will begin electing to embed electronic devices beneath their flesh. In fact, there's at least one dude out there who already has. While Tim Cannon has elected to charge his smartphone-sized implant wirelessly using a DIY charging coil, a new invention could have tomorrow's cyborgs running on electricity generated by their own internal organs.

The new charger is an implantable piezoelectric strip that transforms kinetic energy into electricity. While surgery is required it to be installed, this little strip can already power a pacemaker when sewn directly onto the surface of your beating heart. Your lungs and diaphragm are also prime targets for these little in vivo power plants, since they're organs that are in constant motion.

The piezoelectric power plants are comprised of lead zirconate titanate nanoribbons, housed in biocompatible plastic. There's also an integrated rectifier that converts the electric signal and a tiny rechargeable battery, both encased in the same plastic. As of yet, the only living participant to have the implants sewn onto its heart has been an unwitting cow, and human trials are still a way off. So far, at least two units have been successfully mounted onto the same organ, boosting their combined output.

As cyborg tech advances, embedded power plants like these might become the norm. We're not saying they're ready to give you cyber super-strength just yet, but maybe someday they will.

National Academy of the Sciences, via Phys.org

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