Portable electronics: A stretchable and adaptable biofuel cell that runs on sweat

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A remarkable new adaptable and stretchable gadget, worn against the skin and equipped for producing electrical energy by changing the compounds present in sweat, was recently created and patented by CNRS scientists from l’ Université Grenoble Alpes and the University of San Diego (USA). This cell is now able to do persistently lighting an LED, opening new roads for the development of wearable electronics powered by autonomous and environmentally friendly biodevices. This research was published in Advanced Functional Materials.

The potential uses for wearable electronic gadgets keep on expanding, particularly for medicinal and athletic monitoring. Such gadgets require the development of a dependable and proficient energy source that can undoubtedly be integrated into the human body. Utilizing “biofuels” present in human organic liquids has for quite some time been a promising road.

Researchers from the Département de Chimie moléculaire (CNRS/Université Grenoble Alpes), who specialize in bioelectrochemistry, chose to work together with an American team from the University of San Diego in California, who are specialists in nanomachines, biosensors, and nanobioelectronics. Together they built up an adaptable conductive material comprising of carbon nanotubes, crosslinked polymers, and enzymes joined by stretchable connectors that are straightforwardly printed onto the material through screen-printing.

The biofuel cell, which follows deformations in the skin, produces electrical energy through the decrease of oxygen and the oxidation of the lactate present in sweat. When applied to the arm, it utilizes a voltage booster to ceaselessly power a LED. It is generally basic and economical to create, with the essential expense being the generation of the enzymes that change the compounds found in sweat. The scientists are currently looking to enhance the voltage given by the biofuel cell so as to power larger portable devices.

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