At the Swiss University of Friborg, researchers were able to reproduce the process of generating an electric current as it occurs in the body of a living creature – the electric eel. And even the indicators turned out to be similar, but more importantly, the technology is extremely simple and cheap to reproduce. In the future, it will become the basis for generators that integrate into the human body.
Electric eel generates a current by command from the brain, which sends a neural impulse to the membrane system. It separates among itself the cells-electrocites, which are very, very much in the body of the eel. Some of them are always positively charged, the second is negative, so when the membrane opens, ions move with a voltage of up to 150 millivolts per cell. That in total can give up to 600 V depending on the size of the individual.
Positive and negative charges in electrocites are created due to chemical reactions, which is easy to repeat in the hydrogel. Using 3D printing, two sheets of a little more than A4 were created, in which 2500 drops of different types of hydrogel were adjacent to each other. When the sheets were aligned, a contact occurred that triggered the ion flow and gave an electric current of 110 V.
Further optimization of the technology led to the addition of sheets on the principle of origami, which allows the entire field with droplets of gel to squeeze to the size of a single point in space. And by doing so, the efficiency of energy production is greatly increased – the geometry of living cells of the eel has a similar appearance. Now scientists are working on how to learn to print hydrogel drawings of lower thickness. This will allow placing more cells on the same area and increasing the efficiency of power generation.
With the appropriate level of miniaturization, such a system can be mounted directly on the skin or in the internal organs of a person without risk to health. And this is already a passive source of energy for future implants.js.src = “&version=v2.8”; 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));