Researchers from Binghamton University have created a battery that is activated by your spit, IFLScience.com reported. The study outlining the development of this paper-based device was recently published in Advanced Materials Technologies.
The battery utilizes the bacteria found in the saliva to power microbial fuel cells and freeze-dried exoelectrogenic cells.
"Within minutes of adding power, these cells generated power," Jonathan O'Callaghan wrote. "With a power density of a few microwatts per centimeter square, 16 of the microbial fuel cells connected together powered a light-emitting diode (LED) for 20 minutes."
The battery is capable of being produced in a number of different shapes, and was even able to be powered by a drop of dirty water in addition to saliva.
"This work creates a low-cost, disposable, long shelf life and eco-friendly micropower source that can be easily integrated in paper-based POC device," the abstract of the paper states. Study co-author Professor Seokheun Choi stated: "On-demand micro-power generation is required especially for point-of-care diagnostic applications in developing countries. Typically, those applications require only several tens of microwatt-level power for several minutes, but commercial batteries or other energy harvesting technologies are too expensive and over-qualified. Also they pose environmental pollution issues."
While this device seems like a promising solution, the batteries will need to produce up to hundreds of milliwatts of energy in order to be useful.