Remember the tantalizing scene in The Matrix, where humans are harvested as living batteries by the machines in the ‘real world’. Well, the sci-fi scope may seem a bit far fetched, but scientists over the years have toyed with the notion of utilizing biological organisms for electricity production. And, the latest example of this eccentrically fascinating facet of science was deftly exhibited by researchers at Clarkson University. In their lab controlled endeavor, they have successfully managed to implant a biofuel cell inside a living snail. The cell in turn generates electrical energy using the snail’s natural glucose as the fuel component.
The experiment was contrived in a delicate manner, so as not to constrain the animal from reacting in its natural manner. So, when the animal carries out its conventional activities, the sustainable energy is harnessed with the implanted electrodes being connected to an external circuit.
Beyond, the novelty of the whole circumstance, it is should be duly noted that the technology is still in its rudimentary stage. According to the researchers, their end goal entails the sufficient development of an insect cyborg like mechanism that can autonomously produce its own sustaining power. And, given the inconspicuousness of these tiny systems, they can even become apt for fastidious missions such as spying in enemy territory.
Now, before the animal activist side of you cringes from such details, the people involved in this intriguing project confirms that the snails are fit with their daily routine of normal activities. In fact, the scientists took special care so as to maintain a healthy metabolism rate of the animal, which in turn allows for the delicate process to work.
All images are courtesy of Clarkson University.