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Biotech Power Science

Fly Eyes Used For Solar Cells 73

Posted by samzenpus
from the windows-to-the-power-pole dept.
disco_tracy writes "Researchers took corneas from blow flies, fixed them on a glass substrate, added a polymer to protect the shape and then coated nine-eye arrays in nickel within a vacuum chamber. The result was a master template that retained those useful nanoscale features and can be used to make solar cells."
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Fly Eyes Used For Solar Cells

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  • i for one (Score:3, Funny)

    by Kral_Blbec (1201285) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @09:36PM (#33064268)
    welcome our electric fly overlords
  • by MoFoQ (584566) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @09:38PM (#33064284)

    man....peta's gonna have a heart-attack....perhaps even an aneurysm too.
    On one hand, they want to support alternative energy....but for them to know that flies were harmed...

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I believe you meant to refer to PETI?

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Fred Foobar (756957)
        Last time I checked, insects were in the animal kingdom, so PETA should still have "jurisdiction" over them.
    • I can see the headline now:

      PETA Blocks Alternative Energy Research

      What, they use inflammatory headlines all the time, might as well give 'em a taste of their own medicine!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Somehow I don't think the slogan would be as catchy as the fur one.

      "I'd rather go without power than use solar cells made from blow fly corneas on a glass substrate.

    • Come off it. PETA's platform doesn't include energy policy. If they bitch about fly eyes, that won't make them hypocrites.

      • by notommy (1793412)

        >> PETA's platform doesn't include energy policy.

        That statement related to the environmental impact of current sources of energy. Which they do care about: http://blog.peta.org/archives/environment [peta.org]

        • by beanluc (780880)

          Thanks for the list of individuals' blog posts which happen to be tagged "environment". Many of which make no mention of energy of any kind, alternative or otherwise.

          I was actually trolling for the PETA organization's platform statement of policy agenda regarding alternative energy, as the OP claimed. Can you google *that* for me?

        • by hey! (33014)

          Unfortunately, this entire line of argument has gone off the rails.

          Saying that PETA is hypocritical for having a position on alternative energy but opposing a particular scheme is just plain silly. The primary good they are pursuing is animal welfare. Energy policy has *utility* toward that good. An energy policy that promotes animal welfare is from their perspective a good thing. They are perfectly entitled to dislike a policy that harms animals, whether that policy is "alternative" or "conventional".

          I

    • by Kozz (7764) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @10:32PM (#33064484)

      man....peta's gonna have a heart-attack....perhaps even an aneurysm too.
      On one hand, they want to support alternative energy....but for them to know that flies were harmed...

      I, for one, think we should act now so we're prepared to harness the energy of their spasms and convulsions.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Their leadership might; but the vast majority of their membership won't be painting themselves red or stripping in public(pity...) about it.

      Blowflies are very much out of the "nature red in tooth and claw" school, only nastier. They need substantial amounts of protein to successfully lay their eggs and develop their horrid maggots. The nicest ones deal with this by hunting down and infesting carrion. The less pleasant ones don't like to wait. In tropical areas, this so-called "fly-strike"(infestation of
    • PETA? How about Jeff Goldblum? The poor guy will never enter a phone booth again!
    • by daem0n1x (748565)
      At long last, flies are useful for anything. I was always wondering why God created such a useless, disgusting, annoying creature.
  • by Culture20 (968837) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @10:06PM (#33064318)
    How hard is it to remove a fly's cornea, and can the process be automated from a cloud of flies?
    • by raving griff (1157645) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @10:17PM (#33064392)
      The process merely creates a template which is then used to create the cells. Therefore, only enough fly eyes to create the template (theoretically one) are required to build an entire line of solar cells.
    • How hard is it to remove a fly's cornea, and can the process be automated from a cloud of flies?

      Not hard, and yes: winged micro-sharks with lasers. Genentech is working on them right now.

      • by hawkfish (8978)

        How hard is it to remove a fly's cornea, and can the process be automated from a cloud of flies?

        Not hard, and yes: winged micro-sharks with lasers. Genentech is working on them right now.

        Informative? WTF!

        • by macraig (621737)

          I know... that's funnier than my attempted joke. I'm going back to pulling the wings offa bees now and leave the humor to the experts.

    • by kimvette (919543)

      I dunno but it sounds like more fun than pulling the wings off of them.

  • In need? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Delarth799 (1839672) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @10:11PM (#33064356)
    Are they in need of more fly eyes? Perhaps my extensive collection might now be worth some money!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Help meeeeeeeeee!!!!
  • by The_mad_linguist (1019680) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @10:21PM (#33064410)

    I know how this one goes. First you start taking the eyes out of blowflies for 'solar energy research', but before you know it it's all gone downhill and you're pulling the wings off butterflies to make your product the right shade of red.

    • by jack2000 (1178961)
      You mean like we do for cochineal and carmine( most used red food coloring ). We use bug ingredients for lots of food colorings and other things. Might as well put the little buggers to some good use.
    • you're pulling the wings off butterflies to make your product the right shade of red.

      And here I thought the recent rash of earthquakes around the world were completely unrelated. Now I know, chaos theory...

  • I've often wondered why God made such a worthless, pesky creature. To give us solar power?! I gotta admit, this is very interesting.
  • Now they'll smash into parked windshields. Nice going, guys.

  • ... of the lens they're after. Wouldn't a better approach be to take one eye (the best candidate based on performance) and find a way to scale up its duplication? With some sort of MEMS duplicator that stamps out one copy, moves some amount, stamps out another, etc., etc.

    Eventually, we are going to want to make sheets of these that measure meters on a side. Paying grad students to glue fly eyeballs to a sheet doesn't seem to be the most efficient process.

  • by dohzer (867770)

    Are there any results as to how much electrical power was generated? Voltages? Currents? Anything?

  • Now do that with bot fly eyes! That fucker lived in my arm rent-free for a few weeks.
  • by Samah (729132) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @01:20AM (#33065368)
    Substrate? Nanoscale?
    Stop using buzzwords...
    *cough*
  • Animal parts... but used to develop solar tech... omg!
  • What to do with the leftover flies?
    http://spatulatzar.com/fly_plane/original.jpg [spatulatzar.com]

  • Have the scientists figured out how to eliminate the buzzing noise these new solar cells will surely generate?

Nobody said computers were going to be polite.

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