Biofuel cell-implanted snails can produce months of electricity

Snails — you know those slimy mollusks (they're not bugs or insects) with the hard shells that move reaaally slow? Yeah, scientists at the Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York want to harvest the electrical power from their blood after they've been implanted with biofuel cells. So much for being worthless slugs.

Led by Evgeny Katz, the lab coats have learned that electricity can be extracted from a snail's glucose and oxygen in its blood. When their implanted electrodes are connected to an external unit, they generate enough electricity for months.

According to Nature.com:

Katz's snails, for example, produced up to 7.45 microwatts, but after 45 minutes, that power had decreased by 80%. To draw continuous power, Katz's team had to ramp down the power they extracted to 0.16 microwatts.

The master plan is to create cyborg snails or insects that have implanted technologies to "gather information on their surroundings for environmental monitoring or military purposes."

Worried about the snails being drained and mistreated? Don't be. Katz says, "The animals are quite fit — they eat, drink and crawl. We take care to keep them alive and happy." See? They're happy!

While the snails have proven to be a success, Katz isn't stopping his research. He's apparently interesting in experimenting on larger animals — specifically lobsters. Cyborg lobsters are fine, so long as nobody figures a way to genetically mutate them to grow the size of Godzilla and destroy our coasts.

JACS and Nature, via The Verge and Engadget

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