What if i told you, that soon you could power your smartphones and other wearable devices with your urine? science and technology, really gone far this time right?
Professor Ioannis Ieropoulos of the Bristol BioEnergy Centre at the University of the West of England has created a bioenergy system. This system includes a pair of socks embedded with energy generators called microbial fuel cells (MFCs) and fuelled with urine pumped by the wearer’s footsteps to power smartphones and wearable electronics.
The pair of socks is supplied with fresh urine which is circulated when the human user walks. Normally, such systems would rely on a mains powered pump to circulate the urine over the MFCs but this experiment relies only on human activity. The manual pump was based on a simple fish circulatory system and the action of walking caused the urine to pass over the MFCs and generate energy.
In the experiment, published in the journal Bioinspiration and Biomimetics, soft tubes were placed under the heels of the socks ensured frequent fluid push-pull by walking.
Having already powered a mobile phone with MFCs using urine as fuel, we wanted to see if we could replicate this success in wearable technology. We also wanted the system to be entirely self-sufficient, running only on human power – using urine as fuel and the action of the foot as the pump.
Prof Ieropoulos also stated “This work opens up possibilities of using waste for powering portable and wearable electronics. For example, recent research shows it should be possible to develop a system based on wearable MFC technology to transmit a person’s coordinates in an emergency situation. At the same time this would indicate proof of life since the device will only work if the operator’s urine fuels the MFCs.”
Scientists say this technology can use any form of organic waste and turn it into useful energy without relying on fossil fuels, thereby making it a valuable green technology.
H’m…. seems weird though… but hey, sounds like a great idea, as long as the urine powered energy system doesn’t leak accidentally.